TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: New Hampshire Makes GOP Stop its Automated Calls

New Hampshire Makes GOP Stop its Automated Calls

Katharine Webster, AP (
Mon, 06 Nov 2006 23:37:28 -0600

Associated Press Writer

A Republican organization agreed to stop making automated phone calls
to New Hampshire residents on the federal do-not-call list. But the
Democrats said Monday that the calls still violate federal rules.

The National Republican Congressional Committee agreed on Sunday to
stop calling homes on the registry after a citizen complained to the
state attorney general. Under New Hampshire law, political campaigns
can contact people on the do-not-call list, but cannot use automated

The calls criticize Democratic congressional challenger Paul Hodes,
who is locked in a tight race against Republican Rep. Charles Bass.

Bass issued a statement Sunday asking all outside groups to stop the
calls and said he was pleased that the NRCC had agreed.

But a spokesman for Hodes said the calls also violate a Federal
Communications Commission rule that says automated calls must identify
their source at the beginning of the message.

One of the calls features a woman who opens by saying, "Hello. I'm
calling with information about Paul Hodes," according to a recording
released by the state Democratic Party. She goes on to criticize
Hodes' position on taxes and ends by saying the call was paid for by
the NRCC and was not coordinated with the Bass campaign.

Alex Burgos, an NRCC spokesman, said the group believes its messages
comply with all federal laws.

The NRCC is using "robo calls" in at least 53 competitive House races
nationwide. The calls have led to a few complaints to the FCC.

"This is the same kind of dirty tricks we've seen up here in the last
couple of election cycles," Hodes spokesman Reid Cherlin said.

In May, a former Republican National Committee official, James Tobin,
was sentenced to 10 months behind bars for his role in the jamming of
New Hampshire Democrats' telephones on Election Day 2002. He was the
third person sent to prison in the case.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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