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View Diary: NH-02: NRCC Facing $100M Penalty for Illegal Robocalls (248 comments)

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  •  Aren't political phone calls exempt (7+ / 0-)

    from the "Do Not Call" list?  Or is this a different such list?

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 04:23:25 PM PST

    •  That was my understanding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bearpaw, possum

      political and charitable calls exempt. "Do Not Call" lists aimed at telemarketers.

      "I don't think the heavy stuff is coming down yet"

      by MadMs on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 04:26:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope... (14+ / 0-)

        Person to PErson political calls are exempt.

        In NH, Political Robo Calls are not exempt, punishible by a $5,000 each.

        •  I live in WI (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          and I haven't received any robo calls. No one else I know has either. I wonder if they're illegal here?

          "I don't think the heavy stuff is coming down yet"

          by MadMs on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 04:38:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm in WI too (0+ / 0-)

            and we got robo calls for a recent mayoral race.  It was REALLY irritating!  

          •  I'm in Milwaukee and getting robocalls (0+ / 0-)

            and several were from Herb Kohl, so the voice said, and it sounded like him -- but maybe it was an impersonator.  Because the calls were SO numerous.  And although I'm on Dem donor and activist lists (lots of other calls because of that, too), the Kohl calls just seemed odd.  For one thing, he hardly needs to worry.

            So I started hanging up on Herb.

            Sorry, Senator.

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 07:40:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It was my understanding that any political call (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bearpaw, mvr

          was exempt in calling voters for political purposes. If there were not true then every Robocall campaign would have the same problem and that hasn't been the case.

          I'm reasonably certain that my understanding is correct. Also, we need an attorney to weigh in on this, but I also believe the Federal Do Not Call Rules supercede any state laws.

          Politicians aren't crazy enough to leave a loophole this big in that important a law. That's why there's an exemption for political calls to begin with....

          Huge companies make their exclusive living making political robocalls. I think they would know what they are doing since if what they are doing is illegal they would be facing major fines.

          Two big questions then:

          A. Does the federal legislation supercede the state legislation?

          B. What does the federal legislation say on the subject of robocalling if anything?

          •  Good question, slight tweak (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mvr, TheSwampDweller, isis2

            I think the issue is not so much federal laws as the First Amendment.

            Saying real people can call in real time, but robocalls are not allowed, is a credible push on the envelope.

            •  Yes, I think that limits like this on political (0+ / 0-)

              speech would not pass constitutional muster, so I doubt the law would be written to cover such, for that would risk having the whole thing overturned.

              •  Speaking of limits... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mvr

                I just logged on to look up a discussion we had sometime back about term limits.  You were concerned about different votes having different weights:

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                Recently it hit me that the solution might be not to require the incumbent to garner a larger percentage of votes in the current election in order to be re-elected now, but to prohibt a many-times incumbent who did not garner a sizeable percentage of the vote in the current election from running again.  Thus, a 4-time senator (24 years in office) who didn't get, say, 65% of the vote this year could not run again in 2012, when he would have been in office for 30 years and be aiming for 36 years.

                What do you think?

                •  I guess it might be constitutional, but I don't (0+ / 0-)

                  think it is a good idea. (I'm sure that was a predictable response.)  It does seem like it is not obviously giving different votes different weights and hence meets one sort of objection.
                  Really what I think is that we should aim at reducing the benefits of incumbency so that challengers have a fair shot at winning, but not that we should handicap incumbents just for the sake of doing so.  Most important to my mind would be having actual rules to prevent extreme gerrymandering of districts.  The SCOTUS once looked like it might take that issue on board, but in recently upholding the TX redistricting for the most part, it seems to have backed away.  So we'll have to wait for a new and better court - quite a while, I'm afraid.  

                  Also public financing of elections would help, though with the amounts now involved, I wonder if the amounts funded in any realistically possible reform would be enough.  I wish also that you could have rules prohibiting lobbyists and their clients from contributing money to campaigns.  But that would not be constitutional as the constitution is now interpreted.

          •  Supremacy of Federal law (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bree, Elwood Dowd, potter

            If there is a law dealing with the same subject, the traditional rule is that the Federal law rules--but this does not mean that the state cannot have its own that regulates the matter more strictly than the federal law (except in cases where the federal law is so all-inclusive that it "occupies the field").

            As an example of how the supremacy clause works, the Federal minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. This means that no state can have a minimum wage that is less than $5.15 an hour, but there are several states (even Florida!) that have a minimum wage that is higher than $5.15. Other examples might be states that have stricter regulations on credit card companies, or air quality standards, etc. It seems that what New Hampshire is doing is banning robocalls to those on the federal do-not-call list. This is not required by the federal law but is not prohibited by it, either.

            "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

            by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 05:04:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a little more complicated than that (0+ / 0-)

              It would depend on whether the federal law was intended (or, more properly, was interpreted as having intended) to engulf/occupy the whole field in which the state is legislating.  I could imagine a court saying that the federal DNC list intended only to apply to certain kinds of calls and that states could augment the restrictions in other areas; I could also imagine the opposite result.  I saw that without having had a good look at the law, and no recent look at it.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 06:02:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let the Courts Decide (0+ / 0-)

                We can't figure out here what the courts will say, but unless and until a court throws the law out, the Republicans should be following it.

              •  I included that (0+ / 0-)

                But "occupation of the field" is not the norm. I can't see the argument for the "Do Not Call" list qualifying for that treatment. The only way would be if the existence of the FCC meant that no state could regulate communications in any way, but that clearly is not the case.

                "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                by Alice in Florida on Sun Nov 05, 2006 at 08:26:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  According to... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Republic Not Empire, 42

            A NHDP Staffer i had a conversation about on this, the NHDP Lawyers are quite certian political robo calls to the Do Not Call list are illegal in NH.

    •  Good point. Unless being non-legit makes them... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      possum

      ...non-legal.

      But even if it's up in the air, it may be a good way to give it buzz, to publicize that MAYBE each person who received such a call is entitled to some percentage of $5,000?

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