Despite the fact that we are not in the midst of an election, many citizens of this once-great state have received robo-calls – but not the kind we are used to hearing just weeks and days before election day. No, these calls are specifically targeted for the purpose of advancing a particular agenda. Until now, the source of the robo-calls was something of a mystery, as those who reported them could not recall the precise verbiage of the call. Fortunately, an alert reader who actually listens to his voice mail messages discovered that one such call ended up in his voice mail box.
New Jersey has a tough anti-robo-calling law – perhaps the toughest in the nation. The New Jersey statute is here.
48:17-28. Delivery of certain recorded telephone messages prohibited.
2. A caller within the State shall not use a telephone or telephone line to contact a subscriber within the State to deliver a recorded message other than for emergency purposes, unless the recorded message is introduced by an operator who shall obtain the subscriber’s consent before playing the recorded message, or unless a prior or current relationship exists between the caller and the subscriber.
If it is true that President Obama made robo-calls for former NJ Governor Jon Corzine at the end of the 2009 gubernatorial campaign, he would have had to comply with NJ’s tough robo-calling statute.
According to Shaun Dakin, CEO of the National Political Contact Do Not Call Registry:
Most politicians in NJ use the “Prior or current relationship between the caller and the subscriber” as a way to believe that they are following the law.
They are not.
If you have the audio from this [the purported Obama call in support of Corzine] call, let me know! (sdakin@citizensforcivildiscourse. org)
The recent spate of robo-calls is an excellent example of what is known as “push polling:
A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted, and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze response data. Instead, the push poll is a form of telemarketing-based propaganda and rumor mongering, masquerading as a poll. Push polls may rely on innuendo or knowledge gleaned from opposition research on an opponent. They are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. The term is also sometimes used inaccurately to refer to legitimate polls which test political messages, some of which may be negative. Push polling has been condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants and is illegal in New Hampshire.
Bill Winkler constantly brags about his prowess as a “political consultant.” I wonder if he’s a member of the AAPC. Somehow I doubt it. Even an organization of political consultants has its standards.
It’s worth noting that, if convicted of violating the NJ robo-call law, the perpetrator could face up to $30,000 in fines along with a criminal record.
Now for the red meat. The following sound bite was transferred from the iPhone of a person who received one such robo-call in his voice mail. The opening words were truncated, but the rest of the message is intact – including the party ultimately responsible for the robo-call.
…affiliated with a local Tea Party group published a racist depiction of President Obama
We are calling to ask if you believe it is ever appropriate to use racist depictions as a means to criticize someone.
We’re sorry you were not available to participate in this survey.
NJCRLC paid for this poll.
Well, well, well…if it isn’t the New Jersey Conservative Republican Leadership Committee. It looks like Wee Willy Winkler is still up to his old dirty tricks, running interference for his butt-buddy Rob Eichmann. And to think: these two are the “face” of Lonegan Conservatism in New Jersey.
Without question, the mysterious “NJCRLC” posts that have been removed from the Conservatives with Attitude blog are connected with “political consultant” Bill Winkler, whose previous push-polls have been parodied here.
As for the relationship between the NJCRLC and the recipient of the call, the recipient is still scratching his head trying to figure out how they got hold of his cell phone number. It’s one thing to receive a call like this from an official organization like the NJGOP – but the NJCRLC? It’s a bogus shell organization with a single-page website that furnishes absolutely no useful information about the organization, its founders, its members, etc.
If you are a victim of illegal robo-call push polling, you might consider contacting local law enforcement or your attorney. If New Jersey is like South Carolina, perhaps arrest warrants are in order when a push poll robo-caller violates the law.