A class action lawsuit filed in the Lone Star State accuses O’Rourke’s campaign of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending texts to Texans who haven’t given them authorization to do so.
“The suit, filed Friday in the Northern District of Texas Court, names Collin County resident Sameer Syeed as a plaintiff on behalf of all Texans that the O’Rourke campaign sent texts to Texans without obtaining permission,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last week.
“Syeed says in the suit that, starting in 2018, he received nine texts from Beto for Texas without granting the organization permission to contact him.
“When he called the numbers he was receiving the messages from, he says, the calls resulted in error messages or disconnected dial tones, showing the calls came from an automated phone system.”
Nine text messages doesn’t seem like a whole lot. However, consider the applicable section of federal law, 47 U.S. Code § 227. It states that if you receive unsolicited messages, you can go to state court and file “an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive up to $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater.”
It’s difficult to justify going to court over $4,500 worth of sweet, sweet Telephone Consumer Protection Act money, particularly given the fact that Beto for Texas is spending roughly eleventy billion dollars to lose a Senate seat. However, just picture if 1,000 Texans received these messages.
That’s $500,000 down the drain — assuming, of course, they only received one message. If Syeed’s suit is accurate, I doubt he’s the only one who received these messages, either.
At least for now, the campaign is fighting the suit.
“Our grassroots volunteer program with thousands of Texans canvassing, phone banking, texting, and organizing is the largest this state has seen,” Chris Evans, communications director for Beto for Texas, said. “It is fully compliant with the law.”
However, if the campaign can’t prove prior authorization, it seems unlikely that they’re in compliance with the law, given that automated equipment cannot be used to send messages to individuals without their permission unless it’s an emergency.
The only real emergency here is for Democrats, who are flushing money down the drain in Texas in yet another quixotic effort to prove they can empurple some very red states.
O’Rourke has raised over $38 million in the third quarter, bringing his total amount raised to over $62 million.
That sort of fundraising (and the subsequent profligacy which it engendered) may have made Beto a household name, at least among political junkies, but it hasn’t gotten him all that close to representing Texas in the upper chamber.
However, if he wants to give back to Texas, he can certainly start by handing over $500 for every text message his campaign wrongly sent out.
If the allegations are true, that would teach him — and future candidates — an important lesson about consent.
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