Misleading automated calls designed to turn North Carolina voters against Democrat Heath Shuler may have come from a GOP campaign firm controlled
by the D.C. lobbying giant, Dutko Worldwide.
The calls, whose impact favored the (doomed) re-election campaign of Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC), pretended to come from the Shuler camp, and came as late as 2:30 a.m., according
to one report.
Taylor's campaign paid Direct Strategies over $113,000 for "phone calls" and "calling" services, according to filings at FECInfo.com.
Despite the calls Shuler beat Taylor 54 percent to 46 percent, and will represent North Carolina's 11th District when Congress convenes next month.
The race is the third known to have been hit with misleading robo calls that are circumstantially tied to the Tallahassee, Fla.-based firm Direct Strategies. Similar calls against Democrats in Nebraska and Pennsylvania coincide
with payments to the firm from the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC).
The president, CEO and CFO of Direct Strategies are employees of the Washington, D.C. lobbying firm Dutko Worldwide; the chairman of the board is Paul Yovovich, a Chicago investment banker whose firm, Lake Capital, bought Dutko in 2003.
Dutko's media liaison has not yet responded to my request for comment.
Update: Commenter Lance notes that Taylor had vowed that if he was elected, he would push for legislation to block political robo calls.