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Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign 674

Posted by kdawson
from the dirty-tricks-and-phonespam dept.
WCityMike writes, "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate — in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'" Update 20:47 GMT by SM: Thankfully we all learned how to deal with these folks last week.
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Republican Robocall Pretexting Campaign

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  • by SengirV (203400) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:49PM (#16740789)
    ... And simply slash the tires of GOP voters so they can't get to the polls - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12498215/from/RSS/ [msn.com]
  • by Kiralan (765796) * on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:52PM (#16740855) Journal
    Looks like Conquest saw Slashdot coming. They have already removed all of the 'Contact Us' links on their home page, as well as the page referred to in the article :->
  • The system is broken (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:56PM (#16740991)
    The election system in the USA is broken. Small electoral districts and first-past-the-post results in a two-party hegemony. This could be fixed by enlarging electoral districts to whole states and then allocating all
    the congressional seats of a state using the proportional Jefferson Method (equivalent to the D'Hondt Method).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D'Hondt_method [wikipedia.org]

    This would result in viable third parties and real choice. Voting for small parties at the federal level before the system is fixed is futile.

    This current system ensures that only two parties exist at federal level. Imagine if there were for example five parties and they got votes in a state like this: 40%, 30%, 15%, 10%, 5%. Wouldn't it then be a good idea to allocate the seats to parties according to their proportional support among voters? Let's suppose that there would be six House seats in that state. Using the D'Hondt method we would get the following allocation
      of seats: Party 1: 3 seats, Party 2: 2 seats, Party 3: 1 seat, Parties 4 and 5: no seats. And the hegemony of the two big parties was broken. This system actually works and is fair, unlike the one used in the USA. In Finland we have eight parties in the parliament. A rich variety of opinions and ideologies is always present and no single party can easily gain a dominant status.
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:56PM (#16740999)
    I'm good friends with Dan Maffei's [maffeiforcongress.com] webmaster, and she's been receiving complaints about these for about a week. Dan is the sort of candidate that wants to focus on the issues, but maybe if we had screamed louder about this, we could have prevented more of this outrage. The calls begin with "I'm calling with information about Dan Maffei." Then there is a long pause. If you hang up at that point, you will be called back, and the whole time you'll think it's Dan himself who's pestering you with the calls. We've had several people who tell us they meant to vote for Dan, but won't after the harassing robo-calls, which they blame on him.

    Does anyone have an idea what we can do about this, one day before the election?

  • Re:don't call list? (Score:3, Informative)

    by SaturnTim (445813) on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:57PM (#16741015) Homepage

    You would think... but the politicians who wrote the law remembered to put in a clause allowing politicians to continue to call you. Nice of them, wasn't it?

  • Google it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Beuno (740018) <argentinaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @03:59PM (#16741067) Homepage
    Google cache always comes in handy:
    Conquest Communications Group stands ready to help with any project you may have. To find out more, please provide us with the following information or call us at 804-358-0560.

    http://72.14.209.104/search?q=cache:chTn88IH384J:w ww.conquestgroup.com/ContactUs/Contact.cfm+site:ht tp://www.conquestgroup.com/&hl=en&gl=ar&ct=clnk&cd =20&client=firefox-a [72.14.209.104]
  • Re:don't call list? (Score:3, Informative)

    by WilliamSChips (793741) <full.infinity@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:00PM (#16741105) Journal
    Yes. The "Do-not-call" list doesn't apply to political calls, but if you tell them not to call, they better not call.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:01PM (#16741117)
    Why don't you just give them a call at 804-358-0560 [archive.org]?
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:04PM (#16741177) Journal
    Go on the media and local news channels. This will piss enough voters off that they may vote for your candidate instead. Its worth a shot and mention you may sue them. Doing so will make the media frenzy around your candidate to get more airtime.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:13PM (#16741391)
    They didn't exactly do a bang up job; they forgot to ask google to remove the google cache. Type this into google's search bar:

    site:www.conquestgroup.com Conquest Communication Group

    and use the cached link to view the pages.
  • by Angostura (703910) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:23PM (#16741641)
    Having listened to a recording (as a British, Leftie, Bush-disliker) I really don't think that there is any clear pretence at the message being from the democrats, really. I'd like to believe, I really would, and I suppose there might be some people who hang up before getting the message, but I don't think the message was deliberately engineered to be that way.
  • Voter Information (Score:4, Informative)

    by emil10001 (985596) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:25PM (#16741685)
    You can try this website:

    http://www.vote-smart.org/ [vote-smart.org]

    I'm in Mass, and I think they do a decent job with handling the information. For those who are in a voting office, you can see their records. Another really helpful thing is to check the NPAT (National Political Awareness Test) results, if available. Being the day before the election, the site seems to be running a bit slow, so be patient. Hope the site is helpful. (I am not affilated with vote-smart.org in any way)
  • by rjung2k (576317) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:28PM (#16741771) Homepage
    The letter in question was (falsely) claiming that only US-born citizens were allowed to vote, and that naturalized citizens who voted would be committing a felony.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:33PM (#16741881)
    Would it be wrong to let their clients know about their tactics? >:) Conguest Group Clients [64.233.187.104]
  • Re:"smear message"? (Score:2, Informative)

    by metamatic (202216) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:34PM (#16741903) Homepage Journal
    If you like the way things are, how your taxes are lower and how we have not lost any American lives to terror since 911, vote for Republicans.

    What planet are you on? The number of American civilians killed by terrorists has gone up every year since 2001 [flickr.com].

  • by Onan (25162) on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:37PM (#16742009)

    He's referring to the fraudulent letters [latimes.com] distributed by Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen.

    The letters were sent to 14,000 registered voters, and claimed (completely falsely) that naturalized citizens are not only ineligible to vote, but would be jailed or deported if they showed up at the polls. They were printed in letterhead that looked deceptively like that of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, and were signed by the completely fictional "Sergio Ramirez".

    So I'm afraid that you're mistaken; these were naturalized citizens, registered voters, and the tactic was specifically designed to deceive them into forgoing their right to vote.

  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 06, 2006 @04:55PM (#16742473) Homepage
    Usually when people assert things, they cite some facts that back up their position.
  • Or the RNC way? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Travoltus (110240) on Monday November 06, 2006 @05:34PM (#16743269) Journal
    Republicans engaged in phone jamming in 2004:

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=18 29056 [go.com]

    a Republican official was CONVICTED of this, too:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/05/16/AR2006051601712.html [washingtonpost.com]
  • by whyde (123448) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:05PM (#16743861)
    at least give the attribution:

    Guaranteed Effective All-Occasion Non-Slanderous Political Smear Speech
    By Bill Garvin
    MAD #139, December 1970
  • Re:"smear message"? (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkroll (32063) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:06PM (#16743865)
    GDP to Debt ratio in the US going down? I think you need to actually take a look at some statistics before making a claim like that.

    A quick search finds data
    here [economist.com] or
    here [cedarcomm.com] readily contridicting your statement. We have gone from about 58% when Bush to office to about 64% now. Another thing to realize is that the projected government expenditures on medicare and social security are about to explode. Demographics are going to make the simple outgrow the deficit thesis very hard to support.
  • Re:"smear message"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by sheldon (2322) on Monday November 06, 2006 @06:32PM (#16744297)
    I see you've drank the kool-aid.

    Sure, you can keep paying off one credit card with another. But the issue of whether deficit spending actually boosts economic growth is up in the air. On one hand you do have the Keyensian economic effect.(which is interesting considering Republicans supposedly reject Keynes), but on the other hand you have the drain caused by interest payments. Interest ads no value. You're not creating any economic growth by spending $400 billion on interest, and you also have the issue of the $9 trillion which is tied up in federal bonds instead of being available for economic investment into the private sector.

    The interesting thing is, we're at a point today where the interest payments on the Federal Debt(about $400 billion) is larger than the amount of the annual deficit(about $250 billion). So we're at a point now where if not for the debt, we'd have a balanced budget. So our debt is actually draining on our budget and making the debt larger. Why is that an issue? Because being in a situation where your debt keeps rising in order to pay off your existing debt is a recipe for bankruptcy.

    So unless we do something stupid to stop economic growth, like raise taxes or pay off the debt early, this debt will never have to be paid off. It will be continually rolled into new debt without increasing our total debt burden.


    Whoa... Your beyond drinking the kool-aid. Your flat off in la la land. Paying off the debt would not drain the economy, rather quite the opposite. It would free up the $9 trillion plus interest payments for private economic development.

    fact, our current debt-to-GDP ratio is 65% and falling, meaning that our economy is growing faster than our debt is. What President Bush should do is a) further cut taxes or b) further increase spending to keep this ratio constant and promote the most economic growth. Personally, I prefer option (a).


    debt-to-GDP is increasing, and has been for several years. http://zfacts.com/p/318.html [zfacts.com]

    It would only be decreasing if the deficit was held to zero, allowing for inflation to decrease the present and future value of the debt. That hasn't happened since the Clinton era.

    Your understanding of economics and deficit spending is disturbing. I've encountered it before, and it appears to be a result of a propaganda campaign by some Republicans to prop up their existing power structure. That is, ignore the problems and look at the furry rabbit slight of hand.

    I don't know if it's worth responding to you, because I don't think you care about actually educating yourself and understanding the issues.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @04:37AM (#16749371) Homepage Journal
    And have a chaotic system. I forget the exact number, but IIRC, but through the 1940's-80's, Italy had more Goverments than years - The goverment falls and a new coalition has to be elected every eight months or so, because nobody has a real majority. It is a notoriously unstable system.

    Not in Australia. We do have proportional representation and coalition governments but it hasn't resulted in instability. Our governments typically last longer than US governments, probably because we don't have a two term rule.

    Our main right wing party is a coalition of the Liberal and National parties. They get along pretty well.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Tuesday November 07, 2006 @07:39AM (#16750157)
    I can count 300K people estimated dead over 20 years in the state.gov link above.

    There was an estimate hanging around of 600K people which died since the start of the US invasion.
      Even if it was 1/6 less than that and in reality 100K this is the number of live lost over way LESS than the 20 years than Saddam had.
    So.... Quote "has resulted in tens of thousands fewer" sorry but this is not true. Extrapolated over the same time period, the us invasion any way you see it killed MORE people than if Saddam was still in power. ESPECIALLY that all massacre happenned while he was a US "friend". He refrained from anything way too bad in the last years.

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