On March 9th, the UK's Daily Mail reported that voters in several states were receiving illegal robocalls attacking Republican members of Congress and attempting to tie them to the media-driven scandal revolving around Rush Limbaugh. Breitbart.com's Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has reported on the mystery surrounding the source of the calls. As our investigation has progressed, the most striking picture that's emerged is the breathtaking scope of the illegal call operation. Illegal calls were made to voters in 23 congressional districts in 12 states. Only a very large political operation with deep pockets could have pulled off such a scheme. There really are only a handful of possible suspects.
illegal robo counts
The charts above list the districts targeted and a rough count of the possible number of illegal calls made. Based on interviews with voters who received calls, it appears that the broadest universe of voter profile was used, i.e. calls were targeted at all households, not just voters of a particular party. This suggests that ultimately millions of illegal calls were made. Millions. Since each of these calls was illegal, a federal indictment could potentially contain millions of criminal counts, with each count carrying a fine and possible jail time.
It is also noteworthy that every district targeted with the illegal calls is also on the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) list of competitive races this November. Of course, it could be a coincidence that each district targeted just happens to be a top target of the DCCC, where they plan to campaign and spend heavily this Fall, but politics rarely deals with coincidences.
To undertake this illegal operation, the culprit would have first had to secure the voter data. There really are only a handful of firms able to deliver voter and phone information for 7 million people in 23 districts across 12 states. (Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has spoken with one of the left's largest data vendors, Catalist, and they have denied any involvement.) Breitbart.com has spoken with some data vendors and can estimate that, based on the size and scope of the information, the cost of the voter data alone would have been around $50,000. There are very few political organizations who could afford that.
Next, the culprit would have had to secure a call center and pay for the calls. Based on interviews with campaign experts, the total cost of the calls would have been around $200,000 to $500,000, depending on a variety of unknown factors and possible discounts. That puts the total costs of the illegal operation at a quarter to a half million dollars. There are very few political organizations who could afford to do that.
Needless to say, this warrants a full criminal investigation by federal or state officials. It is the largest illegal robocall operation in history and, quite likely, one of the most serious overall campaign frauds. The call violated both federal telecommunications and election law. Worse, the illegal acts were clearly intentional.
There are two critical things that make these calls illegal: 1. there was no valid 'call-back' number associated with the robocalls and, 2. the robocalls did not disclose who paid for them. Not providing this information was a decision that had to be made by someone. They had to decide to provide a non-working 'call back' number and had to decide to not disclose the funding source.
The coming Fall elections will be among the most important of our lifetime, and possibly our childrens' lifetimes. It is incumbent on federal and state officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of November's vote. Turning a blind eye to such a breathtaking criminal operation would seriously undermine the public's faith in the electoral system. The investigations must begin today.