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Democrats cry foul over political robocalls

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Democratic Party says it has filed a former complaint over political robocalls they say are breaking state law – specifically, the rules about disclosing who has paid for the call.

Justin Lee, Elections Director for the state, says the law is clear on that point. At issue is a series of robocalls, pre-recorded, that ask specific polling questions ahead of the November election.

“You need to say who’s paid for it, and that is currently missing from those polls that we’ve heard of,” he says.

Part of the problem, Lee says, is that even though his office has some phone numbers it can track, this type of investigation can get tricky. Some are toll-free 1-800 numbers that don’t let Lee’s investigators get in touch with the right people. Some appear to be ‘spoofed’ – in other words, what shows up on the caller ID is not the real number responsible for the call.

“One of the phone numbers we did call, the phone line is just blank. There’s nothing there,” Lee says.

The complaint from Democrats does not implicate the Republican Party. Lee says he’s seen improper robocalls in the past from both sides.