Texas Tribune Quotes Partner Steve Augustino on Political Campaign Communications
July 27, 2018
Partner Steve Augustino was quoted in the Texas Tribune article, “Some voters say they’re inundated with political spam this year. Is there a way to make it stop?” The article considers the deluge of unsolicited political support text messages and emails that Texans have received with the 2018 general election only being a few months away. Steve notes that according to FCC laws, unsolicited commercial text messages are strictly prohibited. However, these laws apply only to commercial messages, and because political “spam” messages do not “propose a commercial transaction,” they are technically allowed and protected as political speech under the First Amendment.

Steve also discusses reasons for why people may be receiving so many texts and emails. “A lot of times the call recipient will have given consent to the party or to another campaign and that consent was fairly broad. It covered not just that particular candidate, but might cover other candidates or all Democratic or Republican candidates,” he said. “So they share the list and that information.” It’s also possible that someone may have a recycled cell phone number. “Particularly if it’s a relatively new phone number you have, it might have been associated with someone else who had given their consent to this particular candidate or source. And the outbound caller has no good way of telling when a number has been reassigned,” he noted.

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