Maryland Attorney General Seeks $60 Million Fine Against GOP Consultant

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has moved to fine a GOP political consultant to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (left) for thousands of false calls to suppress the vote in the recent governor’s race to help out Ehrlich. Republican political consultant Julius Henson and his company Universal Elections sent out thousands of calls to convince Democratic voters to stay at home by telling them that they had already won the election. Also named is employee, Rhonda Russell, who reportedly taped the message — which Gansler alleges violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by not identifying who was behind the messages.

The calls were made to benefit Ehrlich and are detailed in a civil action in federal court. The state is seeking $500 for each violation or $60 million for each of the defendants.

It was the Baltimore Sun who tracked the calls to the Pennsylvania-based company, which was paid by the Ehrlich campaign. The campaign denounced the tactic after it was disclosed in the Baltimore Sun.

In the Robo call, Russell allegedly stated “Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful. Our goals have been met. The polls were correct and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight.”

Henson is quoted as saying (rather dubiously) that the calls were not designed to discourage Democratic voters but to trigger interest among Republican voters to go to the polls. Wouldn’t it have been better to say “Hey, Ehrlich is going to lose if you don’t vote”? The complaint notes that no Republicans were identified on the list of 112,000 used for the Robo calls.

It would be interesting to see who else hires Henson.

Source: Baltimore Sun

Jonathan Turley

6 thoughts on “Maryland Attorney General Seeks $60 Million Fine Against GOP Consultant”

  1. Maybe this would be a better method for trying to win an election than employng dirty tricks???

    Sexy bikini posters enliven Polish municipal polls
    WARSAW | Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:59am EST
    (Reuters) – A Polish singer and tabloid celebrity has put up posters of herself stretched out on the sand in a provocative bikini as part of her campaign to win a Warsaw district council seat in municipal elections on November 21.

  2. Anything that can be done to bring elections into focus on the issues and the truth will be a big win for everyone. I hope this lawsuit will bring attention to underhanded tactics.

  3. is that illegal? It wasnt very effective in any event. How many people didnt vote because of it? How do you prove people were influenced or even listened to the message?

    It seems to me the company will close down, no politician in their right mind is going to want this type of thing associated with their name.

    insert comments about conservative politicians and being in their right mind here:___________________________________________________

  4. From the Baltimore Sun article:

    Henson has a history of rough-and-tumble campaign tactics.

    In the 1998 gubernatorial race, he masterminded an effort to paint Republican nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey as a racist through fliers and other materials depicting her as an enemy of civil rights. In 2002, Henson was hired by then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and vowed to portray Ehrlich, her opponent in the governor’s race, as a “Nazi” in an effort to win black voters.

    The calls on election night may have also violated a relatively new state law covering voter fraud and voter suppression that carries a possible penalty of jail time, but Gansler said his office does not have jurisdiction over pursuing those charges. end excerpt


    Apparently, Henson follows the money, working both sides.

    Henson and Russell need to see the inside of a jail, IMO. Gansler says that he doesn’t have jurisdiction. Who, then, has the authority to pursue voter fraud and voter suppression charges in this case?

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