(Washington, D.C.) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a $5 million fine against Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, two individuals who made 85,000 robocalls targeting Black Americans in the lead-up to Election 2020 in an attempt to scare and misinform voters. The FCC says this is the largest fine it has ever imposed for robocalls violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The action comes after a lawsuit was brought against the two individuals by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. The Lawyers’ Committee reported this incident to the FCC.
The following are statements from attorneys involved with the case:
David Brody, senior counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “Today’s FCC action should be a clear warning to anyone who is attempting to use modern forms of technology as a method of voter intimidation – these acts will not be tolerated, and you will be held accountable. Every American must be guaranteed the fundamental right to vote, free from any intimidation or threats, and we will use the full power of our nation’s civil rights laws to defend that right. While this fine from the FCC is welcome, we will still pursue legal action through the courts to secure true justice for the victims of this abhorrent attack on their right to vote.”
Amy Walsh, partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP: “We are grateful that the FCC has forcefully joined our efforts to put an end to this illegal and dangerous threat to our democracy. We will continue to aggressively pursue all legal remedies to protect the voting rights of our clients and, by extension, of all those eligible to vote.”
In Oct. 2020, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP filed a lawsuit and temporary restraining order against the two individuals, arguing that they violated the Voting Rights Act and Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero issued the temporary restraining order, and stated in his ruling that the two citizens were engaging in ‘electoral terror,’ and trying to provoke the same type of feat the Ku Klux Klan sought to produce. Judge Marrero also stated that the court must act swiftly and effectively to combat modern methods of voter intimidation. The lawsuit is still before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org