Complaint about Minnesota 'anti-robocall' law withdrawnby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A political action committee that had asked the Federal Election Commission to strike down Minnesota's law against so-called robocalls has withdrawn its request.
American Future Fund Political Action, an Iowa-based PAC that promotes conservative and free market ideas, withdrew its request this week after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and several other state attorneys general submitted papers defending their laws against robocalls.
The automated calls using a recorded voice have been common in political campaigns as candidates try to reach as many voters as possible.
Most robocalls have been banned in Minnesota and many other states. But the American Future Fund said robocalls allow candidates with limited funds to reach a large number of voters, and the group argued the state laws were preempted by federal election law.
FEC staff had issued three different draft advisory opinions that commissioners could adopt in the case. One sided with the American Future Fund, another found that federal law did not preempt state robocall laws, and the third declined to issue an opinion.
Jason Torchinsky, an attorney representing the American Future Fund, said in a statement that the PAC will continue pursuing the issue in the future but through narrower, more selective means.
"Even if the FEC ruled in our favor, the submitted comments from the state attorneys general suggest we would still be forced to litigate this issue," he said. "Given the delay and the likelihood that some state attorneys general would simply disregard a ruling in our favor, we withdrew our request."
In a statement, Swanson called the American Future Fund's request to strike down the law "misguided."
"People have the right to be let alone in their homes, and robocalls are particularly intrusive and annoying to Minnesota citizens," she said. "I am glad to see the request abandoned."