Phil Bartlett, Maine State Senate District Six  

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Phil Bartlett Stunned By Feds Verizon Lawsuit

August 22, 2006

AUGUSTA– Senator Philip Bartlett II ( D-Cumberland County ), Chair of the utilities and Energy Committee, announced today that he was stunned to hear that the Federal Government was suing Verizon and the State to keep Verizon from affirming the truthfulness of statements contained in press releases from the company concerning possible wiretapping by the National Security Agency (NSA). A group of 22 citizens had asked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to open an investigation into information provided by Verizon to the NSA. In response, Verizon urged the PUC not to open an investigation and supported its request by referring to statements include in two press releases issued by Verizon in May. Before deciding whether to open an investigation, the PUC asked Verizon to affirm, under oath, that the representations contained in the press release and presented to the PUC were in fact true and not misleading.

" I find it outrageous that the Federal Government could suggest that the State doesn't have the authority to ask a regulated entity to tell the truth," Senator Bartlett declared.

"It is a clear infringement on federalist principles to prohibit Maine's government from asking Verizon to provide the information needed to confirm the veracity of their own press statements. I hope the PUC and the Attorney General will stand firm and take this to the Supreme Court if necessary to protect the State from this intrusion on its sovereignty."

The PUC and the Attorney General have not yet responded to the Federal suit.

In addition to chairing the Utilities Committee, Senator Bartlett serves on the Labor Committee, and represents the communities of Gorham, Scarborough and Westbrook.