South Dakota Republican Party blasts Minnehaha County Treasurer candidate Starr for making illegal robocalls; urges recipients to report violations to FCC
South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Dan Lederman today issued a statement criticizing Sioux Falls City Councilman and Democrat County Treasurer Candidate Patrick Starr for violating provisions of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by illegally placing a number of “robocalls” to people’s personal cell phones in furtherance of his political campaign.
Lederman said “On the afternoon of the 22nd, we began receiving multiple reports that people were receiving pre-recorded robocalls on their cell phones from Starr, which was surprising because we know it to be illegal to call cell phone numbers.” The reports of Starr’s cell phone abuse got so bad yesterday that people were reporting it on-line at the anti-telemarketing site “nomorobo” that there was a “severe” instance of political robocalls from “ (605) 321-9680” (website https://www.nomorobo.com/lookup/605-321-9680), with Starr’s robocall attached.”
“We have reports that people as far north as Watertown were receiving those calls on their cell phones, which has me questioning where Starr got his list, and whether the vendor he was using was reputable,” Lederman said.
The TCPA is a federal statute which prohibits certain automated calls, texts and faxes sent by telemarketers and others. The law is implemented by regulations from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). The TCPA allows victims of illegal calls to collect damages of a minimum of $500 per illegal call, text or fax. Stricter regulations went into effect in 2013 which radically increase consumer protection by requiring that telemarketers obtain a consumer’s consent in writing before making a call or sending a text.
Senator John Thune recently sponsored the Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act which was signed by President Trump to help put more emphasis on the FCC prosecuting robocall abusers. Thune’s measure in part grants the Federal Communications Commission more latitude to pursue civil forfeiture penalties against the worst offenders.
Lederman said “Calls to cell phones using any form of artificial or pre-recorded voice without your consent are flat-out illegal, and I would encourage anyone who received Patrick Starr’s illegal robocall on their cell phone to go online to consumercomplaints.fcc.gov and report that they were robocalled without their permission.”
Lederman continued “This is at least Starr’s third run for public office, and apparently after all this time he still doesn’t have a grasp of the basic rules of campaigning, much like he lacks the basic qualifications for the office of Minnehaha County Treasurer.”