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Political Groups Sue U.S. Attorney General For Right To Autodial Voters

Does a political organization have a First Amendment right to auto-dial your cell phone? Political groups across the country have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General hoping to change the answer to that question to yes.

Five political organizations, including a Tea Party political action committee and the Democratic Party of Oregon, filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Loretta Lynch challenging the validity of provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that prohibit automatic or prerecorded calls to cell phones.

The groups alleged that the TCPA violates the U.S. Constitution by restricting free speech on the basis of content. They argue that since congress has allowed some organizations to get around this ban based on the identity of the caller or the content of the call, then they should also have an exemption based on the political importance of their speech.

For instance, the plaintiffs argue that the Federal Communications Commission has created an exemption to the pre-recorded or automated calls for things like calls from a person’s wireless carrier, notifications about package deliveries, healthcare notifications, and exigent financial notifications. Additionally, the federal government recently added an exemption that oule allow pre-recorded debt collection calls to cell phones if they are made to collected on a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States.

Because of these exemptions, the plaintiffs argue that the TCPA is prohibiting their calls based solely on the content of the calls. Also, the plaintiffs want the federal judge hearing the case to create an additional exemption for political speech.

The lawsuit was filed after a similar case came in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In that case, the Fourth Circuit reviewed South Carolina’s state version of the TCPA, which contained a restriction on automated or recorded calls of a political nature or relating to a political campaign. The District Court found the statute unconstitutional as a content-based restriction on speech. The Court of Appeals agreed, and affirmed the case, finding that the state’s interest in protecting consumers from robocalls did not outweigh political free speech rights.

Whether or not the lawsuit against the Attorney General will result in political robocalls remains to be seen. It can be assumed that the parties will push for a decision as soon as possible so that they can begin robocalling constituents before November.

Until a judge says otherwise, receiving unsolicited or automated phone calls and texts from political campaigns is still a violation of the TCPA. If you have received nuisance calls from political organizations or other fundraisers, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages. To learn more about your legal rights and options, schedule a consultation with Loan Lawyers. Our Florida debt defense attorneys are skilled in prosecuting TCPA cases, and will help you get compensation for your annoyance.

Schedule a free consultation at Loan Lawyers today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813). Don’t wait to get the help you need!

  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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