Thursday, November 02, 2006

Souder Supporters Calling Taxpayer Funded Phones

Robo-Call Disrupted Service at Allen County Voter Registration Office

Fort Wayne, IN Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Kevin Knuth today reported that a member of the Allen County Voter Registration Office staff received an automated political telephone call on behalf of Mark Souder and filled with misinformation about his opponent, Dr. Tom Hayhurst. The call disrupted service to the public, wasted the time of taxpayer-supported employees and misused taxpayer-funded equipment and telephone lines.

“This represents a new low for the Souder campaign. The phones in Voter Registration are paid for with taxpayer dollars and are not to be used for political campaign purposes,” said Knuth.

“The Voter Registration office worker had to put a live caller on hold to answer the second line, then was unable to get the ‘recording’ to stop. That call could well have prevented a legitimate voter from being assisted in a timely manner. Mark Souder’s increasingly negative, misinformation filled, dirty trick style campaign is a disservice to the taxpayers of this county. I am calling on Mark Souder to stop this madness and to inform his overlords that they must cease and desist,” said Knuth.

Knuth noted that he has received numerous complaints about the calls over the past few days. Indiana’s “Do Not Call’ list has made Hoosiers highly sensitive to phone intrusions. One such complaint came from a gentleman who stated that he screamed into the phone trying to determine if it was a live operator. The alleged live operator continued without distraction. The robo-calls have been described as being preceded and followed by audible clicks indicating the entire operation is automated.

The robotized telemarketer making the calls indicated that they are paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee. A search of the real-time Federal Election Committee database monitoring independent expenditures shows that no filing has been received on this activity. The calls began early in the week.

According to FEC law, within 20 days of an election, independent expenditures must be reported “on the day following the date on which a communication is publicly distributed or otherwise publicly disseminated” if it is in aggregate of $1,000 or more.

Knuth also observed that he has received a sizable volume of anecdotal evidence that many of these calls are targeted to traditional Democratic Primary voters.

“Targeting Democratic Primary voters is nothing short of voter harassment,” Knuth added “A campaign should be waged on the issues, records and character of the candidates. Mark Souder and his Washington cronies evidently think that dirty tricks and voter intimidation are the way to go. Mark Souder’s sour divisive campaign messages coupled with his mean-spirited tactics have brought a little too much Washington-style corruption here to northeast Indiana. Hoosiers reject that in word and deed.”

Editor's note: Mr.Knuth states that HE also recieved one of these calls at home today. These guys must REALLY be desperate for votes!

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