A political action committee has placed hundreds of thousands of illegal robocalls impersonating President Trump’s reelection campaign, according to a new report from CNN today.
According to CNN, the Support American Leaders PAC has placed over 200,000 calls raising more than $100,000 in January alone. None of the money raised is going to the Trump campaign, CNN said. It’s going to the PAC which is supposedly affiliated with the campaign, but has yet to spend any money on the 2020 elections or even the last election cycle. Most of that money is going toward making more robocalls.
The calls used recordings of President Trump asking for support, likely taken from former speeches and events. “I’m Donald Trump. Tonight I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border, out of love and devotion to our country,” CNN reported one call script saying.
Pre-recorded political robocalls are not necessarily illegal on their own, but the Federal Communications Commission requires the organizations placing them to disclose the committee placing them. A callback number must be provided in the message as well. The Federal Trade Commission also has rules on these practices and could determine that the calls were deceiving for consumers.
The director of the PAC, Matthew Tunstall, told CNN that the calls made the necessary legal disclosures and claimed any that began with “I’m Donald Trump” introduction were made in error.
Lawmakers and FCC commissioners have been hard-pressed to fix the influx of robocalls in the country, albeit in less political pretenses. Earlier this month, FCC Chair Ajit Pai warned carriers that the agency would intervene and put forth regulation if they didn’t put caller authentication programs into place. Lawmakers like Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) have put out some of their own legislation to help curb robocalls as well.