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Person behind District 3 robocalls identified, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney says

Regulators give phone companies new tools to fight robocalls
Posted at 12:15 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 21:24:31-05
Person behind District 3 robocalls identified, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney says

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office has identified the person behind the offensive District 3 supervisor's race robocalls.

In a press release Friday, District Attorney Dan Dow said Kevin P. Rice of Kern County contacted his office and admitted that he was fully responsible for the recent robocalls made this week.

In an interview Friday morning, Rice reportedly told investigators that he acted independently and did not have contact with either Supervisor Adam Hill or candidate Stacy Korsgaden's campaigns.

Both Hill and Korsgaden said they do not know Rice personally.

Rice provided details and corresponding documentation that is now being reviewed by the DA's office, according to the press release.

“The integrity of our election system is of paramount importance to our American system of government by the People. I am firmly committed to aggressively enforcing violations of election and campaign law to ensure that members of our community are able to cast their vote without interference of unlawful campaigning activity,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.

Alex Quilici, CEO of a robocall blocking app (YouMail), said people behind these calls could face steep fines.

"You can't robocall someone especially on their cell phone without their prior consent. that's kind of the basic law, but if you do you could be responsible for up to $1500 per robocall and I believe the Trace Act is now $10,000 per robocall," said Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail.

Political campaigns in California are governed by California’s Political Reform Act published in Government Code sections 81000-91014. Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of this title is guilty of a misdemeanor (Cal Gov. C. 91000). Additional state and federal laws regulate the use of telephones and electronic communications systems.

Hill said between these robocalls and mailers sponsored by Korsgaden's campaign, this is the ugliest race he's ever seen.

"While my opponent may not have anything to do with this, I believe her, she's run a really ugly and dishonest campaign that's been one ugly mailer and other things after another."

Korsgaden said she stands behind mailers that accuse Hill of violating campaign finance laws and accuse him of being a sexual predator.

"My job as a candidate is to remind the public of his record and that's what I have done," said Korsgaden.

Experts said political robocalls are a small percentage of the total number of spam calls out there.

"In particular areas, you might see quite a few more. Like in South Carolina right now you might see a lot of robocalls encouraging people to vote and suggesting who they might vote for," said Quilici.

The investigation is still ongoing and the DA's Office said it is partnering with other law enforcement agencies.