Conservative hoaxers face $5.1M fine for election robocalls
Aug 25, 2021 •
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two conservative hoaxers face a record $5.1 million fine for allegedly making illegal robocalls to wireless phones without the owners’ consent in the 2020 election.
The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday that the proposed fine for Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman and Burkman’s lobbying firm would be the largest ever for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The men already face criminal charges in multiple states over allegedly organizing 85,000 robocalls that falsely warned people in predominantly Black areas of New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan that information gleaned from mail-in ballots could lead to their arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination.
The FCC said federal law prohibits making prerecorded calls to cellphones without the permission of those receiving the calls. The agency, which determined 1,141 calls went to mobile phones on Aug. 26 and Sept. 14, proposed a $4,500 fine for each one.
Regulators launched their investigation following consumer complaints and concerns raised by a national civil rights group, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The FCC said it worked with the Ohio attorney general’s office to obtain subpoenas from two dialing service providers showing emails from Burkman and Wohl, including ZIP codes to target and “the tape we want to go out.” They will have an opportunity to respond before the commission takes action…