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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ US https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Group running robocalls impersonating Trump's campaign has already raised more than $ 100,000

Group running robocalls impersonating Trump's campaign has already raised more than $ 100,000



It even uses a recording of President's voice: "I'm Donald Trump. Tonight I'm asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border, out of love and devotion to our country." A deep-voiced narrator then comes on asking the listener to be one of the hundreds of thousands of patriots who helped President Trump finally build the wall by making a one-time urgently needed donation to the campaign.

Calls like this one, said to number more than 200,000, have helped raise more than $ 100,000 in January alone, but that money is not going to the Trump campaign, whose spokesperson told CNN they were not affiliated with the calls. Instead, the calls are coming from a political action committee that is not affiliated with Trump's re-election effort and has not spent any money so far in this or last election cycle, according to records from the Federal Election Commission

A CNN KFile investigation into the group behind the calls, Support American Leaders PAC, reveals it is run by 32-year-old Matthew Tunstall, who has a history of managing shadowy groups that target people with politically charged calls to raise money while doing little ̵

1; if anything at all – to put that money towards a political purpose. Tunstall made more than $ 300,000 through these groups in the 2016 presidential cycle, FEC records show.

The operation effectively amounts to an income cycle of washing, rinse, repeat: paying for ads to raise money to pay for more ads to raise more money and so on, with Tunstall taking whatever money does not get used to pay for more ads.

Determining who was behind the calls was difficult. The recorded calls are from non-working numbers, do not identify the group responsible for them, or provide a callback number. And when KFile reached multiple call center operators working for the group, they provided the name of a PAC that does not exist

The calls use multiple scripts. Some use publicly available audio of Trump, making it appear as if the President made a recording for the PAC. Another call for a Trump's campaign to help fund the border wall, while others directly imitate a pitch sent by the Trump campaign asking for money to send fake bricks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York

These practices appear to be in violation of the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Communications Commission on disclosure and requiring advertisements disclosing the name of the organization making the calls

from CNN, Tunstall claimed the calls followed by the rules and said any calls beginning with "I'm Donald Trump" were the results of technical errors and that such calls were stopped following CNN's inquiry.

"This was a technical error if you heard this, there were many different variants that have recently been tested for different political ads regarding support for President Trump," Tunstall wrote CNN in an email. "I have been instructed by multiple legal sources that using politicians is acceptable and not considered to impersonate, because politicians are public officials and do not have the rights to their likeness like normal private citizens and celebrities do."

History of playing both sides

Tunstall has a history of managing PACs that targeted conservative and liberal ends of the political spectrum. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, BuzzFeed reported that Tunstall was behind both the Progressive Priorities PAC, a group that claimed support for Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders and the Democrats' agenda, and the Liberty Action Group, which claimed Trump support

all of the money donated to both groups went to paying for the radio ad and calls that asked for more donations or to Tunstall and unspecified media consultants.

CNN's KFile reported in 2017 that Liberty Action Group raised nearly $ 3 million through radio ads and robocalls during the 2016 election by asking for contributions to help elect Trump, with Tunnel himself was paid more than $ 300,000
The Liberty Action Group used former president Ben Carson's name without his consent on fundraising appeals in 2016, asking voters to sign a pledge they claimed was signed by Carson to support Trump
In 2016, the group was sued by a San Francisco man who said they illegally placed robocalls on his cell phone causing him to incur unwanted charges. Court records show the case was settled.
KFile also reported that in early 2017, several people received telephone calls from Progressive Priorities PAC that played a record of former President Barack Obama followed by a request to donate to "help Obama impeach Trump."

Unchanged practices

Despite past reporting, Tunstall does not seem to have changed his ways, but he claims his ads never meant to impersonate anyone and claims this time around he plans to spend the money to support candidates like President Trump

"Regarding Impersonation, Support American Leaders PAC has never intentionally intended to do anything other than comply with FEC regulations and support candidates like President Trump. "The American PAD Leadership Campaign is not the Trump campaign or affiliated with the Trump campaign," he added. and the widely used application to stop robocalls on cell phones and landlines, show the American Support PAC Leaders did not have any required disclosures on their calls.

CNN's KFile first discovered the calls on the Nomorobo website, which tracks robocalls through the 250,000 phone lines they own in order to block them on their application. In calls sent to Nomorobo's phone calls, 1,688 calls were received on 545 different lines, not a single instance, and a disclaimer of who was behind the calls.

An FEC spokesperson told KFile that they require a telephone call from a candidate's campaign or committee, "must include a clear disclaimer identifying the name of the committee that paid for the communication." "The FEC also prohibits the fundraising that misrepresents a federal candidate."

The FEC also prohibits fundraising that misrepresents "
The FCC shall require any pre-recorded political robocalls to identify the name of the committee behind the calls at the beginning of the message and the callback number must be provided during or after the message. Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act defines deceptive practices in commerce when "a representation, omission or practice misleads or is likely to mislead the consumer."

Despite this, Tunstall claimed his calls featured the required disclosure and said he made more than 200,000 calls

"I can not comment on how much of the record Nomorobo was able to record, but the name of the PAC and also the required phone number are at the end of the record per FEC regulations for political voice broadcasts, "he said. "200,000 calls were made with different message variants for the pre-launch test, and in the coming months, we plan to reach over five million voters combined between radio, television and telephone calls."

Professor Richard Hasen, and University of California, Irvine Professor of Law and Political Science, says that Tunstall may be open to criminal penalties if his actions were intentional

"Willful violations of federal campaign law may subject someone to criminal liability alongside civil penalties, "Hasen told CNN.

Hasen pointed to an example of a GOP donor who was accused earlier this month for using his super PAC to feed more than $ 1 million in his own contributions

Tunstall and his PAC are not easy to find

Due to the lack of disclosure in the robocalls, the PAC could only be reached by being connected with an operator if you received a call and pressing a number when prompted.

Operators in call centers repeatedly told KFile in four calls that the group making the call was the Trump campaign. When pressed, operators said the money was going to Conservative Leaders PAC, and a non-existent PAC. KFile only discovered the real name of the organization by making a donation to the group with a prepaid debit card.

The transaction was charged as "Support Trump" through Rally, a payment processor used for fundraising solicitations. The Rally, which informs donors where their money goes when asked, told CNN the money went to the American PAC Support PAC – and the PAC registered with the FEC

Tunstall is the only name on paperwork for the group and a phone number listed for the PAC was previously not a working number.

Following an inquiry, Rally told CNN's KFile, the processor had suspended Suspicion of American Leaders PAC based on previous reports on Tunstall

Tunstall told CNN that call center operators were told to give the name of the correct PAC and that the error was

"The call center agents are trained to say that the contribution goes to helping the American Support PAC, re-elect President Trump and support his agenda, which is true," he said. "The initial test is still in the pre-stage where the call center agents are still getting used to the scripting. This was an error or something that is not on the script if you heard this. "

Tunstall declined to give CNN the name of his call centers when asked.

For an organization without a website or any media attention, FEC records show Support American Leaders PAC raised $ 114,240 in January. But the records do not show any individual donations;

"Donor information is only required"

"Donor information is only required" for donations over $ 200, and we have been using our best efforts and are still using our efforts to collect the occupation and employer for these donors, "Tunstall told CNN when asked about the lack of individual donors listed. "'Support America' might be the payment processor descriptor, or a check by mail donation."


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