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Gay rights group files complaint over anti-Obama texts

The Human Rights Campaign called for an investigation into a series of anti-gay, anti-Obama text messages


Jillian Rayfield
November 1, 2012 8:39PM (UTC)

The Human Rights Campaign has called on the FCC to investigate a series of unsolicited text messages sent out Tuesday night from unregistered websites like sms@gopmessage.com and sms@aicett.com.

"[T]he [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] prohibits any person within the United States to use a telecommunications service 'to cause any caller identification service to knowingly transmit misleading caller-identification information with the intent to defraud [or] cause harm,'" Robert Falk, the HRC's counsel, wrote in the complaint. "By disguising the sender of the text messages as 'SMS@Aicett.Com,” [a company called] ccAdvertising knowingly and willfully caused the caller-identification service to transmit misleading caller-identification information in an attempt to defraud and harm gay-rights advocates."

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On Tuesday, a number of D.C.-area residents, including several political reporters, received texts from the email addresses with messages like "Re-electing Obama puts Medicare at risk," and "Obama supports same-sex relationships. Voting for him will destroy the sanctity of marriage."

CBS News reports that the texts were linked back to Jason Flanary, who unsuccessfully ran for state Senate in Virginia last year:

"WHOIS, an Internet protocol that provides the name of any website's owner unless he or she pays for anonymity, on Wednesday showed that voteett.com - suspended for 'spam and abuse' - is registered to Jason Flanary and managed by a Centreville, Va., company called ccAdvertising. Flanary is the chief operating officer of ccAdvertising, which according to the company's website provides robo-calls to 'commercial, Political, Congressional and non-profit clients.'"

During his campaign, similarly unsolicited texts were sent out to residents in Virginia, reportedly also by ccAdvertising, prompting a number of complaints and lawsuits from Democratic officials and activists.


Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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2012 Elections Barack Obama Fcc Gay Rights Human Rights Campaign Medicare

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