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Texts From Corren's Campaign May Have Violated Federal Law

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Taylor Dobbs
/
VPR
A firm working on behalf of Dean Corren's campaign for Lieutenant Governor sent this text to a group of people that included those who hadn't opted in to receive such messages.

Dean Corren’s campaign sent out a text message blast this morning reminding people to vote, and not-so-subtly reminding them to vote for Corren.

“VOTE TODAY by 7 PM!” the message read. “Dean Corren for Lt. Gov. means jobs, healthcare and the environment. He’s endorsed by Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Shumlin.”

But instead of going out to a list of supporters who had opted in to receive text messages, the text blast went out to an unspecified list that included some phone numbers of people who had not opted in.

“We’re trying to figure it out, but it appears that there was some kind of mix-up with the list,” said Corren campaign manager and Vermont Rep. Chris Pearson.

Sending automated text messages to consumers who have not opted to receive them is against federal regulations, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

An FCC web page providing guidance on automated phone methods commonly called “robocalls” says that “Prerecorded voice and autodialed calls (including live calls, prerecorded voice messages, and text messages) may NOT be delivered to cell phones, pagers, or other mobile devices without the prior express consent of the called party.”

Pearson said the Corren campaign is working with the vendor to sort out the problem. That vendor is likely Progressive Contacts, an Arizona-based company that advertises itself as “making the calls for you.”

Corren’s campaign paid Progressive Contacts $3,000 last month for “Media - Phones / Robo calls.”