From MyDD via TPMmuckraker comes word that the Nebraska Public Service Commission is investigating allegations about robocalls that helped torpedo Democrat Scott Kleeb's chances at the polls last month. The calls are similar to ones made against Larry Grant here in Idaho as part of a widespread campaign by the National Republican Congressional Committee to confuse and anger voters. From the Lincoln Journal-Star:
Derek Brown of Kearney said he received about a half-dozen calls with Kleeb’s voice throughout the course of a Saturday just before the election. The first call came at about 7 a.m. and he did not recall sources of the calls being identified.
“It was like I was getting yelled at,” Brown said of the recordings. “I wasn’t going to vote either way, but I thought it was really annoying.”
The PSC is trying to track down the source of the calls. Fines could be levied if it is found that rules were broken.
Victor Covalt III, an attorney working for the state Democratic Party on the issue, said the findings of the PSC investigation could lead to legal action, including a complaint that the calls violated a Federal Communications Commission rule that says automated calls must identify their source at the beginning of the message.
The TPMmuckraker piece notes that the NRCC paid a firm called Direct Strategies $3,500 for phone banking in Kleeb's race shortly before the election. A look at the NRCC's November 2 independent expenditures shows that the Republicans also paid Direct Strategies $6,253 for phone banks opposing Larry Grant on that day alone. Yet the robocalls started weeks earlier in Idaho's 1st District, confusing voters who thought they were coming from the Grant campaign, although Grant's voice was not used in the Idaho calls. Congressman-elect Bill Sali consistently disavowed any responsibility for the $1.5 million in out-of-state special interest money plowed into his campaign by the NRCC, the Club for Growth, and other out-of-state special interests. Most of the money funded negative television ads, automated calls, and "push polls." Sali won with 49.94% of the vote.