This election for District 3 will go down as the zaniest in Horry County history. Below I speak of robocalls that Bob Kelly’s campaign was complaining about.
Now the same telephone number, shown on caller ID, that was pushing a negative Kelly message two days ago just left a positive message to vote for a northerner on my mobile phone voicemail.
It seems the only things these clowns can’t get straight is how to make these illegal calls legal and how to target them to people who can vote.
By Paul Gable
The Bubba Owens campaign team is requesting investigations into the attempted bribes and illegal robocalls that have plagued the Horry District 3 special election.
After receiving opinions from two respected attorneys of good standing with experience in the workings of both state and federal election law in particular, the Owens camp is in the process of turning over to authorities all information it has with respect to the Bob Kelly campaign’s attempt to get Owens to drop out of the primary runoff.
According to the Owens camp, this information will include the key November 6, 2015 voicemail that enunciates the bribe along with other supporting voicemails, emails and other documents.
After reviewing the November 6th voicemail sent by Kelly campaign consultant Jim Wiles to Owens campaign consultant Donald Smith, and other evidence, both attorneys came to the same opinion. They stated there is no other way to interpret the November 6th voicemail than that it was a clear attempt to induce Owens to drop out of the race in exchange for receipt of something of value.
A portion of that voicemail states, “… give Kelly a shopping list of what they (Owens and his consultants) want for downtown Myrtle Beach in exchange for Bubba dropping out…”
Both said to say there must be an exchange of money to constitute a bribe, as a college professor opined in a local media source, is to totally misunderstand the law. The laundry list for Bob Kelly to commit to represents value in their opinion.
Kelly told several local media outlets that he knew nothing of the Wiles voicemail until it was reported in the media. However, other voicemails and emails included in the evidence appear to contradict that position.
Kelly and his campaign consultant are complaining of recent robocalls, made by a group calling itself “Friends of Bob Kelly”, as being negative hits on him.
Throughout this primary campaign season, three different Republican candidates, Bubba Owens, Ethan Leyshon and Kelly, have been targeted by negative robocalls. Kelly’s silence when earlier robocalls were targeting Owens and Leyshon may eventually speak loudly.
Robocalls with a political message made to landline phones are legal under federal law.
However, robocalls made to mobile phones are illegal. In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission, the oversight agency, fined Dialing Services LLC a total of $2.944 million for making illegal robocalls containing a political message to mobile phones.
Some of the negative calls made against all three candidates, Owens, Leyshon and Kelly, went to mobile phones, thereby breaking federal law.
Several Owens campaign members have received these various messages on their mobile phones. That information, including the telephone numbers showed on caller ID, has already been reported to the FCC consumer affairs division.
All readers who have received any of these robocalls on their mobile phones are encouraged to report the information to the FCC at 888-225-5322.
In addition, the Owens campaign is in the process of contacting Rep. Tom Rice to request the Congressman follow up these complaints to the FCC to help eliminate these illegal nuisance robocalls to local constituents.
Since 2012, several self-proclaimed political operators have descended on Horry County with a bag of what they believe to be political dirty tricks to launch against various local candidates. Included in their bag of tricks have been what they perceive to be hit piece mailers, bogus social media groups, fake Facebook GOP pages and these robocalls.
From what I have seen and heard of these attempts, I believe them to be silly, amateurish attempts that have no impact on the campaigns they target. Rather, I believe they are desperate attempts to gain notoriety for the purveyors of these tactics.
It is interesting to note that I have received two of the above mentioned robocalls on my mobile phone in recent days. I don’t live in District 3 and can’t vote in the upcoming primary runoff and special general election. (Yes, I have reported these calls to the FCC.)
Likewise, I have been contacted by six different persons who can all be called active in Horry County politics in some fashion or form. All six of these people have received the recent robocalls on mobile phones. Yet, only two live and are registered to vote in District 3.
When you break the law in elections, you should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. When you break the law with silly actions that can have no bearing on the election results, you are just plain stupid.