Will SC AG Prosecute Huckabee Push-Poll Robo Calls?

|

Ah, the joys of the primary season. South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has been asked to prosecute pro-Mike Huckabee push polling now underway in the state. State law bans such automated calls.

McMaster is a major John McCain supporter in the state, but the prime target of the calls—at the moment—seems to be Fred Thompson. In a call partially recorded last night by one South Carolina resident and sent to McMaster, Thompson's record on abortion and taxes was attacked.

This mirrors similar recent efforts in Michigan against Mitt Romney, where the same firm placed calls to voters blasting Romney's record on guns and immigration. One report pegged the number of such calls into Michigan at five million while South Carolina is on tap to receive one million calls.

Common Sense Issues seems confident that its calls are protected by the First Amendment, and they may well be. More interesting to my mind is the group's status as a 501(c)(4), which IRS regs say prohibits "direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office."

In fact, it is not clear where Common Sense ends and the Huckabee campaign begins. Voters should not have to Google the number calling them to find that out.

NEXT: Big Brother Around the World

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Wow, Tax Hike Mike attacks Fred on taxes? My tongue got twisted just typing that.

  2. I say lettem go at each other.

  3. Except for the circus entertainment, the GOP contest hardly matters as the Obama/Edwards ticket seems unstoppable in Nov. (Barring any anti-white racialist newsletters that may surface from Obama’s church with his name on the byline.)

  4. How many pages of federal legislation, state legislation, court findings, FEC rulings, etc have been generated to date? My guess(?) is enough to have a helluva bonfire. All of this legislative, bureaucratic and judicial activity has accomplished the following?

    1)
    [end list]

    Good job on cleaning up the system, folks.

  5. It’s a coin toss in Nov. no matter what. You heard it here first.

  6. “Not clear when Common Sense ends and the Huckabee campaign begins”

    It ends when you actually donate to it

  7. I got one of those calls as well except it attacked Romney due to my response that I was supporting him.

  8. These calls are an epidemic and are invading the privacy of All American Voters.

    Our members are taking a stand and saying enough is enough at the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at StopPoliticalCalls.org.

    Here is a quote from a member this morning:

    “I find it very frustrating… I tend to get calls at the WORST time. I have a one year old daughter, and it NEVER fails that the phone will ring when I put her down for a nap or for bed. Also my vote is PRIVATE… so who do you think you are calling with a survey to find out who I am voting for!!! Stop calling me.”

    Regards,

    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder
    http://www.stoppoliticalcalls.org

  9. This isn’t new, Huckabee’s supporters have attacked Romney with Robo-push-polling in every state since Iowa

  10. I’m a big advocate for free speech. But I don’t think the First Amendment gives you a guaranteed forum for speech. And, I believe the inherent rights to property and privacy, as well as the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly (freedom to associate with people of your choosing). That means I don’t believe there should be any First Amendment right to call me up on my private telephone line to harass me over politics.

    I have an unlisted number for a reason. I am subscribed to the national “do not call” registry. I want to be left alone.

    But political calls are still allowed. That is just wrong in my opinion. Politicians can blanket the airwaves, plaster their messages on billboards, send me direct mail, e-mail me ad nauseum… I can’t get away! I should be able to be secure in my home and keep the unwanted out. I shouldn’t have to disconnet my telephone line to have some peace and quiet.

    Put political calls on the “do not call” list.

  11. Two problems here:
    1. I’m pretty sure the 1st Amendment doesn’t cover this. It seems like the Constitutionality issue was covered back in the days when the national no-call lists were being set up. Probably not protected.
    2. The second BIGGER problem comes with Huckabee (the evangelical Christian) using an essentially fraudulent technique to make himself look better by tearing others down. He’s probably standing on that verse from II Hezekiah.

  12. Mike should just convert to Scientology, it suits him better. Kind of fun watching him fight against inevitable irrelevance though. 🙂

  13. Today, the following businessmen from Arkansas released a statement in support of former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee: Scott T. Ford, President and CEO, Alltel Corporation; Warren A. Stephens, President and CEO, Stephens Inc.; Madison Murphy, Former Chairman, Murphy Oil Corporation; John Tyson, Chairman of the Board, Tyson Foods, Inc; and French Hill, Chairman and CEO, Delta Trust and Banking Corporation:

    “We are a traditionally bi-partisan group of executives of several of the largest corporations headquartered in the State of Arkansas, each with considerable exposure to the Administration of Governor Mike Huckabee. Of late, Governor Huckabee has attracted what we believe to be unwarranted criticism regarding his business record.”

    “Our experience with Governor Huckabee indicates that he not only values greatly the freedoms of religion and liberty, but of the free market as well. He is an atypical leader who garnered the respect of not only the professional business community but of the working men and women across our State as well.”

    “When he became our Governor, he inherited our long sub-standard education system, infrastructure, and regulatory climate. Under his leadership, we were able to grow our businesses, increase our employment, reduce our litigation exposure and enjoy, along with all of our fellow Arkansans, a healthier economy, improved schools, updated highways, and new healthcare delivery facilities.”

    “In our support of Governor Huckabee’s truly conservative, small government business outlook and his pragmatic, yet compassionate style of governing, we invite you to look past the shallow rhetoric of yet another campaign season to see what we have experienced first hand – that with the right political leadership in place, businesses and citizens can jointly prosper and as they do, they contribute so much more to the economic and societal fabric of a community than simply tax revenues.”

  14. MITT’S BRILLIANT MOVE TO TAKE NEVADA!

    While McCain, Huckabee and Thompson slug it out in SC, Romney has quite brilliantly done the following:

    1) Lower expectations for himself to 4th place so that anything higher will be a victory.
    2) Raised expectations for McCain calling him the “prohibitive favorite” and saying it would be “hard to imagine him losing”.
    3) Leave for Nevada today where he gets the state all to himself for two days of campaigning while everyone else ignores.
    4) Shores up his base in the West (California has just decided the Independents CANNOT VOTE in the Republican Primary and Mitt is already polling well there.)
    5) Mitt just got endorsed by Nevada’s #1 paper.
    6) Dirty little secret – people think that SC is SO IMPORTANT but it actually has ONLY 24 DELEGATES. Nevada has 34!
    7) By not being a threat in SC, he gets 3 days of NO NEGATIVE ATTACKS by the other guys while they all beat each other up.

    Honestly, it’s quite brilliant!

  15. John McCain said:

    “My campaign will NOT go negative. America has shown us they want and deserve better…”

    The NEXT day, McCain sends out a VERY NEGATIVE flier on Mitt Romney, full of lies and distortions (saying Mitt SUPPORTED Taxpayer Funded Abortions in MA, when in truth, it was mandated by the courts and Mitt could do NOTHING to stop it.)

    Mike Huckabee said:

    “We will NOT be using this negative ad because America deserves better. But if we had run the ad, this is what you would have seen.”

    …and now we have the “push-polling” thing.

    CONCLUSION:
    So we have the “Straight Talk Express” lying to our faces and the “Christian Leader” deceiving us like a snake in the garden.

  16. Mike Huckabee cloaks himself in religion while his true self will do anything immaginable to win in south carolina or any other state. Plus the media give him free air time too. The man is pure evil, he makes my skin crawl and reminds me of the snake oil hucksters at all the county fairs in south carolina and all across the state. I am 70 years old and know an evil person when I see him and hear him speak. The sheep are being led to the slaughter house.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.