Right-Wing Activists Face $5M Fine for Election Disinformation

FCC proposes largest ever fine for TCPA violation for Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2021 10:35 AM CDT
Right-Wing Activists Face $5M Fine for Election Disinformation
Jack Burkman, left, and Jacob Wohl appear at a press conference on Aug. 6, 2020.   (Wikimedia Commons/DM)

Two conservative activists were trying to suppress minority voters in largely Democratic areas when they made more than 1,100 unlawful robocalls offering false claims about mail-in voting in the 2020 presidential election, according to the FCC, which hopes to levy its largest fine ever proposed for a robocall operation of this kind. Jacob Wohl, 23; Jack Burkman, 54; and JM Burkman & Associates face a proposed fine of $5.1 million for the calls placed between Aug. 26 and Sept. 14, 2020, which claimed personal information pulled from mail votes would be "used by police departments to track down old warrants," "used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts," and potentially used by the CDC to enforce mandatory vaccinations, NBC News reports.

The calls went out to 1,141 wireless cellphone users in New York, Ohio, and Michigan who hadn't given their consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, according to the FCC. "This is the largest TCPA robocall fine ever proposed by the Commission," it says, noting Wohl and Burkman were identified on the calls and admitted to creating them. The right-wing operatives, already facing criminal charges in Michigan and Ohio, are known for spreading conspiracy theories about opponents of former President Trump, per the Hill. "We know that the Biden administration is desperate to distract from their complete debacle in Afghanistan and Joe's declining mental state, but we will not be deterred or discouraged," Wohl told the Washington Post in a Tuesday interview. (More robocalls stories.)

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