State Legislators Have a Telecom Front Group's Number

"," a group that's "working hard to kill a cell phone reform bill at the Minnesota legislature," describes itself as "a non-profit consumer advocacy organization" formed to protect cell phone users' "freedom, value, security and mobility." But it's "staffed almost entirely by telecommunications industry executives, drawn mainly from the ranks of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association," reports Andy Birkey. The group claims that the Minnesota Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Act would increase cell phone charges. It's hired corporate lobbyists and run ads against the bill, and is encouraging people "to send a canned and misleading e-mail message condemning the bill to their legislators." The bill actually "would guarantee customers accurate information about billing and service area coverage." One state legislator who received the emails responded, "It is no more expensive to make the terms of a [cell phone] contract transparent than to hide billing and pricing practices. ... The wireless companies lied to the public, convincing many to oppose a bill they would support if they saw the legislation."