Reports out of New

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November 6, 2006 5:43 am
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Reports out of New Hampshire suggest the NRCC has stopped its deceptive robocalls there after intervention by the state Attorney General, but confusion remains about what exactly the NRCC has agreed to, and it appears at least some calls are continuing.

From the Union-Leader:

A national Republican group yesterday scuttled a pre-recorded phone call effort the state Attorney General’s Office said may have violated New Hampshire law by contacting residents listed on the federal Do Not Call registry.

The National Republican Congressional Committee voluntarily agreed yesterday afternoon to stop making automated calls to homes on the registry, said Deputy Attorney General Bud Fitch, who oversees election law.

. . .

Fitch said the agreement with the RNCC came after a conversation about 2 p.m. yesterday between the Attorney General’s Office and the general counsel for the Washington-based RNCC.

The state continue to investigate, with no decision on whether to pursue civil action, Fitch said.

Rather than a complete halt to the robocalls, the NRCC seems to have agreed to stop making prerecorded calls to voters on the national No Call List. Federal law permits political advocacy calls to phone numbers on the No Call List on First Amendment grounds, but New Hampshire, like some other states, prohibits prerecorded calls to phone numbers on the No Call List. The NRCC may have been violating the New Hampshire law.

For now it appears that the NRCC has agreed to stop its robocalls only to a subset of New Hampshire voters.

Update: The NRCC contends the New Hampshire law does not apply to it:

Alex Burgos, NRCC spokesman, said his organization has been making calls to independent voters in the state’s Second Congressional District since Monday and would continue to do so. . . .

“We are a federal organization campaigning about a federal race,” said Burgos. “We feel that New Hampshire law does not apply to what we are doing.”

In any event, the involvement of the New Hampshire Attorney General has been limited to the very narrow issue of whether the calls are going to voters on the No Call List and not whether they are intended to mislead or harrass voters.

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