A Republican-tied robo-call firm, whose president once reportedly boasted of his company’s ability to “deliver a voter suppression message” to unfriendly voters, is working to undermine state restrictions on robo-calls.
In comments filed Wednesday with the FEC, and examined by TPMmuckraker, ccAdvertizing argues that state laws restricting robocalls are pre-empted by a more lenient federal law. The comments were submitted in support of an earlier effort by another shady GOP-tied group, American Future Fund Political Action (AFFPA), to get the FEC to rule against the state laws. We reported on the AFFPA move here.
Just as the folks behind AFFPA have a history of sleazy campaign tactics — including setting up a bogus “voting rights” group to push efforts to make it harder for minorities to vote — so to do the operatives who run ccAdvertising. In 2006, as we reported at the time, the firm pumped out calls that asked voters, “Do you believe that foreign terrorists should have the same legal rights as American citizens?” and others that informed people that their local Democratic candidate “voted to allow the sale of a broad range of violent and sexually explicit materials to minors.”
The firm’s president, Gabriel Joseph III, is no fan of reporters. “If someone writes something that I don’t like,” he once said, “I can make their life—I can make them understand a few things if I choose.”
ccAdvertising has blue-chip GOP credentials. It’s founder, Donald Hodel, is a veteran of the Reagan administration and a former president of Focus on the Family. And it has an impressive capacity to reach voters. Joseph boasted to Mother Jones that “he can handle 3.5 million calls per day, each one costing less than 15 cents.”
Attorneys general for several of the states whose robo-call restrictions have been challenged by AFFPA and now ccAdvertising have written their own briefs to the FEC, urging the commission to uphold the laws.