The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a record-breaking fine in connection with what may be seen by many as a politically motivated robocall campaign.
In a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, the FCC proposed a fine of $5,134,500 against John Burkman, Jacob Wohl, and J.M. Burkman & Associates LLC for allegedly making more than 1.1 million wireless phone calls without the prior consent of users. The U.S. Telephone Consumer Information Act (TCPA) prohibits making prerecorded voice calls to wireless phones without the express consent of those receiving the calls, regardless of the content of the calls.
According to the Notice, the calls were made between August 26 and September 14, 2020, and featured a prerecorded message telling potential voters that, if they voted by mail, 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.”
Burkman and Wohl, who are reportedly lobbyists and political consultants based in Arlington, VA, were identified by name in the prerecorded messages and Burkman’s personal wireless phone number was listed as the calling party on the caller ID of recipients’ phones. They also reportedly admitted their involvement in the creation and distribution of the robocalls under oath in a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.