Senate Constituent Services Provider CEO Resigning After Admitting to Fraud

Symplicity, an approved software vendor for the U.S. Senate, announced its chief executive officer and chief technology officers are stepping down after admitting to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by spying on rival firms. The company is one of four approved vendors that provides a constituent services system for receiving, tracking and managing correspondence sent to Senate offices from folks back home. This can include sorting large amounts of incoming and outgoing letters and emails, along with tracking personal visits and phone calls and creating templates for bulk mailings. Some offices also rely on the system for scheduling. Estimates provided to CQ Roll Call show approximately 20 percent of Senate offices rely on Symplicity for their system. In an apology letter to clients from CEO Ariel Friedler, he announced he and CTO Alok Dhir pleaded guilty to improperly logging into competitors’ websites and that they both are resigning. Symplicity has named Bill Gerety its new CEO and House Judiciary Committee Senior Majority Counsel Samuel Romero Ramer is joining Symplicity as general counsel. The news was first reported on the technology news site PandoDaily, which obtained a copy of Friedler's letter. Both Symplicity and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In his letter, Friedler wrote, “I let my competitiveness get the best of me and I crossed a line. ... I wanted to see what my competitors’ products looked like but I did it in a way that was just plain wrong.”