Complaint filed in Election Night robocall

Attorney general's office says messages violated Telephone Consumer Protection Act

November 10, 2010|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

The state attorney general's office has filed a federal complaint against a political consultant who sent out an Election Night "robocall" to thousands of Marylanders suggesting that they "relax" because the race was over.

Julius Henson, a longtime political operative who had been hired by the campaign of Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., acknowledged last week that he was behind the calls after The Sun traced them to his company, Universal Elections.

The complaint alleges that Henson and an employee, Rhonda Russell, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by not identifying who was behind the messages.

The company through which the calls were placed told reporters that 50,000 voters were contacted, but the complaint says that more than 112,000 calls went out to voters in Baltimore and Prince George's County.

Henson, meanwhile, claimed that the calls were meant to rally Ehrlich supporters and did not constitute fraud. However, the complaint alleges that the calls went predominately to Democrats.

Ehrlich has not commented on his campaign's involvement in the call. Neither he nor anyone from his campaign staff are named in the complaint.

The complaint calls for a fine of $500 for each violation of the statute – or $56 million.

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