Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Wednesday filed a complaint in federal court against Universal Elections Inc., Julius Henson and Rhonda Russell, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The trio are alleged to have initiated more than 112,000 pre-recorded telephone messages to Maryland residents on Election Day, Nov. 2, informing the residents that they did not need to vote. A majority of the recipients were registered Democrats living in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.
The complaint alleges that the messages violated the TCPA because they did not contain two required disclosures: the identity of the business, individual or other entity that is responsible for the call, and the telephone number of the party that initiated the call.
According to Gansler’s announcement, an investigation revealed that Universal Elections retained Robodial.org, a Pennsylvania-based company that provides a variety of telecommunications services. That includes voice telephone broadcasting services on behalf of political clients, for the purpose of initiating and delivering prerecorded messages to telephone numbers in Maryland. The complaint alleges that Henson and Russell uploaded the list of telephone numbers and a pre-recorded message that was to be delivered to those telephone numbers.
Violating the TCPA carries a penalty of $500 for each violation. The attorney general’s complaint alleges that the defendants committed more than 112,000 violations, further alleges that the violations were knowing or willful, and asks the court to triple the allowed penalties.