IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 12, 2008
Mrs. Feinstein (for herself, Mr. Specter, Mr. Inouye, and Mr. Durbin) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration
To regulate political robocalls.
This Act may be cited as the
Robocall Privacy Act of
Congress makes the following findings:
Abusive political robocalls harass voters and discourage them from participating in the political process.
Abusive political robocalls infringe on the privacy rights of individuals by disturbing them in their homes.
For purposes of this Act—
The term political robocall means any outbound telephone call—
in which a person is not available to speak with the person answering the call, and the call instead plays a recorded message; and
which promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes a candidate for Federal office.
The term identity means, with respect to any individual making a political robocall or causing a political robocall to be made, the name of the sponsor or originator of the call.
The term specified period means, with respect to any candidate for Federal office who is promoted, supported, attacked, or opposed in a political robocall—
the 60-day period ending on the date of any general, special, or run-off election for the office sought by such candidate; and
the 30-day period ending on the date of any primary or preference election, or any convention or caucus of a political party that has authority to nominate a candidate, for the office sought by such candidate.
The terms candidate and Federal office have the respective meanings given such terms under section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431).
Regulation of political robocalls
It shall be unlawful for any person during the specified period to make a political robocall or to cause a political robocall to be made—
to any person during the period beginning at 9 p.m. and ending at 8 a.m. in the place which the call is directed;
to the same telephone number more than twice on the same day;
without disclosing, at the beginning of the call—
that the call is a recorded message; and
the identity of the person making the call or causing the call to be made; or
without transmitting the telephone number and the name of the person making the political robocall or causing the political robocall to be made to the caller identification service of the recipient.
Enforcement by Federal Election Commission
Any person aggrieved by a violation of section 4 may file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission under rules similar to the rules under section 309(a) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 437g(a)).
If the Federal Election Commission or any court determines that there has been a violation of section 4, there shall be imposed a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per violation.
In the case the Federal Election Commission or any court determines that there has been a knowing or willful violation of section 4, the amount of any civil penalty under subparagraph (A) for such violation may be increased to not more than 300 percent of the amount under subparagraph (A).
Private right of action
Any person may bring in an appropriate district court of the United States an action based on a violation of section 4 to enjoin such violation without regard to whether such person has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.