The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered two business partners to pay over $5 million in financial penalties for orchestrating a massive robocall campaign intended to dissuade recipients from voting in public elections via mail.
According to a Forfeiture Order issued by the FCC in early June, John Burkman and Jacob Alexander Wohl have been fined $5.1 million for directing prerecorded calling campaigns in August and September 2020, ahead of the 2020 elections. The calls warned recipients that voting by mail in upcoming elections would mean that their “personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts.”
The recorded messages at the center of the campaign identified both Burkman and Wohl by name and claimed to be made on behalf of “Project-1599.”
The FCC’s Forfeiture Order followed an extensive investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, working in conjunction with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The investigation included a review of detailed records for more than 1100 calls made to wireless telephones without the recipients’ consent.