Earlier today, I received this illegal robocall from (318)-516-2929, a number that originates out of Monroe, Louisiana.
Why, exactly, is this illegal? Because the recording, allegedly made by “Billy Johnson,” is intended to influence a federal election, and both the Federal Election Commission and federal laws require full disclosure. Quoting (bold mine):
At the federal level, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 has some basic rules that apply to all automated calls, but it is up to the states to decide how they will regulate automated calls of a political nature. According to the TCPA: “All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages (i) shall at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individuals, or other entity that is initiating the call, and (ii) shall, during or after the message, state clearly the telephone number or address of such business, other entity, or individual.“
In addition, the Federal Election Commission, which doesn’t specifically mention robo-calls in its regulations but does consider them a form of public communication, requires that a call made by a political committee or individual that “expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or solicits funds in connection with a federal election” include a disclaimer, which “identifies the person(s) who paid for the communication and, where applicable, the person(s) who authorized the communication.”
Clearly, the campaign responsible for this call seeks to discourage people from voting for former Congressman Clyde Holloway, but with thirteen other candidates in the race, it’s impossible to know who, exactly, it is. Without question, though, the campaign must be well-financed and sophisticated enough to spend thousands of dollars on such an operation and brazen and arrogant enough to completely disregard federal law.
I placed a return phone call and left a message, and if you care about the integrity of the democratic process in Louisiana’s fifth district, I encourage you to do the same.
That said, there is one candidate, in particular, who seems to believe the rules don’t apply to him, and funny enough, he’s from Monroe. Maybe, just maybe he will rise to the occasion and respond.