MANCHESTER, N.H. – The John Kasich campaign is under investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General after complaints that the campaign allegedly sent pre-recorded robocalls to New Hampshire residents who are on the national no-call list, which is illegal under New Hampshire state law.
A Kasich adviser denies any wrongdoing.
Breitbart News has obtained an audio recording of a robocall that the Kasich campaign apparently sent out to at least one person in New Hampshire. The robocall ended up on the answering machine of at least one individual, Amhert’s James Burke, who is on the nationwide “no-call list.”
The Attorney General provided a memo to the Jeb Bush campaign saying that an investigation is underway and that there are no exceptions to the law. The Kasich campaign initially claimed that the robocalls were not illegal because real live people dialed the numbers and only left a recorded message if the person on the other line didn’t pick up. But the attorney general interpreted the statute to mean that even if a human dialed the number, the campaign would still be in violation so long as a recorded message was left.
“The AG’s interpretation of the statute is confusing,” Kasich surrogate and senior adviser Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire attorney general, told Breitbart News. “It was confusing to interpret it that way.”
Pressed for clarification, Rath changed his quote.
“It was sufficiently confusing that he decided to issue a press release clarifying what they felt the law meant,” Rath said.
Rath added that he had nothing more to say on the matter.
Jeb Bush campaign general counsel Megan Sowards recently sent a letter to the state Attorney General’s office thanking it for providing “guidance” on the issue. The Attorney General’s office claimed that there is “no material exclusion” to the ban on sending robocalls to people on the no-call list. Sowards said that the Kasich camp, which includes a pro-Kasich super PAC, has not stopped engaging in the practice, despite the Attorney General’s guidance.
“Dear General Foster: Thank you for providing written guidance making clear that RSA 664:14-a’s prohibition against prerecorded political messages delivered to New Hampshire voters on the federal do not call list ‘has no material exclusion; it is absolute,'” Sowards wrote, adding:
Despite your office’s very clear guidance last week, today our campaign received evidence that New Day for America, the Super PAC allied with John Kasich’s presidential campaign, has delivered a pre-recorded message to an answering machine of a New Hampshire resident on the federal do not call list. The message has all of the hallmarks of one recorded by a professional actor reading from a script instead of a volunteer leaving an individualized message.
The New Hampshire attorney general’s office provided guidance on the matter in a memo obtained by Breitbart News. According to the memo:
A “prerecorded political message” is defined by RSA 664:14-a, I, as a prerecorded audio message delivered by telephone by: (a) candidate or political committee: or (b) any person when the content of the message expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure, or person at any election, or contains information about any candidate or party. As applied to candidates for nomination in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary (“Primary”), it is clear by the definition that the statute applies to prerecorded (1) audio messages, (2) delivered by telephone, and (3) containing information about or advocating the success or defeat of any person competing in the Primary.
The statute restricts the delivery of audio messages meeting the definition of a prerecorded political message in two ways…The second restriction is the one relevant to the present inquiry. It prohibits the delivery of a prerecorded political message to any telephone number on any federal do not call list. RSA 664:14-a, III. The prohibition has no material exclusion; it is absolute. The statute makes no distinction between a prerecorded political message delivered by a live person or an automated dialing machine, nor does the statute distinguish between prerecorded political messages received by a live person or a telephone answering device. If the number called is on a federal do not call list, no prerecorded political message may be delivered. RSA 664:14-a, III.
The Kasich campaign did not provide comment for this report.