Monday, November 06, 2006

attack of the robo-calls

man, that indiana law barring robo-calls has sure been getting a lot of republicans in trouble. now we learn that the indiana gop has fired conquest communications group for making automated calls on behalf of carl brizzi:

Marion County Democrats had accused the Republicans of placing "robo-calls" after two voters provided voice mail messages asking them to vote for Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi in today's election. One complaint was filed Friday with Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter, a Republican.

State GOP spokesman Robert Vane said Monday that Virginia-based Conquest Communications Group used recorded messages in calls for Brizzi and several candidates around Indiana.

"That is not what we contracted for," Vane said, so the party fired Conquest and is refusing to pay the company. Vane declined to say how much the party still owes.

The Republicans intended for all campaign calls to be conducted "100 percent live," Vane said, but instead Conquest used a live introduction followed by a recording.

Under Indiana law, a recorded message can be delivered over the phone only if it is first introduced by a person who seeks and gets permission to play it.

no matter what vane says, the calls were most certainly illegal. democrats have recordings that prove it. check out this hilarious distortion of logic, where vane tries to explain why the calls didn't break the law:

Marion County Democratic Chairman Ed Treacy said the telephone recordings show that there was no live introduction in the Brizzi calls, and only one voice could be heard. He said permission to play a recorded message was not requested in the calls.

Treacy said the calls clearly violated the law, but Vane said the Republicans' legal staff disagreed. If a voice mailbox asks the caller to leave a message, Vane said, that should meet the consent requirement.

these calls were blatantly illegal under indiana law. but they're pretty innocuous compared to other robo-calls made by conquest communications. their latest schtick is making harrassing "false-flag" calls. it goes something like this:

you get a phone call from someone who says something like "hi, i'm calling with information about [democratic candidate]." if you hang up, they'll call you back. repeatedly. like 8 or 10 times. if you aren't paying attention, you might believe that the calls are actually coming from the democratic candidate's campaign, and (hopefully) you'll get so pissed off about the calls that you'll decide to vote against the democrat. of course, the calls are not coming from the democrats, but from the NRCC. (if you don't hang up, you'll eventually be rewarded with an anti-democrat message.)

these false-flag calls, which are not only unethical but illegal under FCC regulations, are being made in 20 districts nationwide. none are in indiana, but there are plenty in neighboring states: two in illinois, two in kentucky, one in wisconsin, and one in iowa.

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