Mobile messaging serves as an effective tool for organizing and fundraising. In this case, however, ccAdvertising took advantage of this tool, and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint about ccAdvertising’s actions leading up to the 2012 election.
CREW filed the complaint with the FEC on August 5, calling out Gabriel S. Joseph for using funds from AICPAC (Americans In Contact PAC) to pay for messages sent to D.C. residents by ccAdvertising. Although AICPAC is a separate organization from ccAdvertising, CREW presented a multitude of financial evidence showing the link between the two. CREW’s official complaint showed that Joseph’s actions violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).
According to the complaint, the texts sent included: “The Obama administration perpetuated misinformation about Libya. Vote against Obama!” and “Obama supports homosexuality and its radical social agenda. Say No to Obama on Nov 6!” Of the messages sent, none of them contained a disclaimer with who paid for these messages.
This case shows the great need for mobile messaging senders to be as forthcoming as possible with recipients. It also displays how advocacy groups, candidates and lobbying organizations all need to be cognizant of the legal implications for funding mobile messaging.
The FEC’s decision will likely impact mobile messaging efforts in the future. And we can help influence that decision. Revolution Messaging filed our own petition in January 2012 with the FCC to protect the privacy of mobile users and stop these spam text messages.
“These abuses threaten what is a very promising technology of text messaging for political engagement,” Scott Goodstein, Revolution Messaging’s founder, told POLITICO at the time of ccAdvertising’s actions. “People did not optin to receive these messages and ultimately end up having to pay the cost for this unwanted misinformation that appeared on their mobile phone.”
Learn how you can help end political text message spam and make sure these unsolicited text messages stop. Visit http://pocketspammers.com.