Companion bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate that aim to give the Federal Communications Commission more power to try and recover fines and penalties it assesses against robocallers who violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
H.R. 4224, the FCC Legal Enforcement Act, was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui [D-Calif.], the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in the House and S. 2095 was introduced by Sen. Ben Lujan [D-N.M.].
The bill, if enacted, would allow the FCC to commence court proceedings as a means of recovering penalties and fines it assesses against illegal robocallers. There have been a number of reports in recent years detailing just how poorly the FCC has done in attempting to collect fines it has assessed against illegal robocallers.
Currently, it’s up to the Department of Justice to decide if it wants to pursue a case to collect an unpaid fine or penalty levied by the FCC. Cases would still be referred to the Justice Department if the bills become law, but if the department does not take action within 120 days, the FCC would be allowed to commence its own action.
“The FCC is working hard to crack down on criminal robocallers, but we need to give regulators the authority to truly take these efforts to the finish line,” Rep. Matsui said in a statement. “The FCC Legal Enforcement Act would provide the FCC the legal footing to address these growing threats and protect American consumers from these fraudulent practices.”