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Stolen identity.

Kevin Drum's article ("You Own You," December 2005) provides a number of commonsense approaches for combating identity theft. At the same time, it fails in one crucial regard. Specifically, it fails to even mention the fact that the GOP-controlled Congress changed the law governing Credit Reporting Bureaus (CRBs), when it significantly amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC 1681 et seq.).

On Jan. 1, 2004, the so-called amended Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act went into effect. Within the amendments, Congress essentially gave the CRBs immunity from any liability for their actions under state law. I know, because I was preparing to file a class action suit on behalf of the victims of identity theft under state law negligence theories, in the event that the act failed to pass into law. Congress dashed our hopes by specifically preempting CRBs from liability under state law, and so watered down the federal remedies as to render them useless. So much for the GOP's "small government federalists." Any advice to Democrats seeking to distinguish themselves from their GOP counterparts, such as those in Mr. Drum's article, should make this information the central argument, rather than excluding it entirely.

Parenthetically, I note this is not the only place where the GOP has eviscerated state remedies and passed federal laws that do little to protect consumers. The so-called CAN SPAM act provides another shining example of how the GOP-controlled Congress stepped in and destroyed through preemption any consumer remedies under state law, while at the same time making the federal law completely ineffective. If you don't believe it, ask yourself how effective CAN SPAM has been in stopping spam from going to your inbox.

Douglas E. McKinley, Jr.

Richland, Washington
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Author:McKinley, Douglas E., Jr.
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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