As I’ve been reporting, there have been a spat of TCPA suits filed recently against Republican-leaning candidates and PACs. First the National Republican Senatorial Committee was sued.
Then it was sued again.
The the RNC itself was sued.
And just today “Team Graham, Inc.” –a PAC organized to help re-elect GOP Senator Lindsey Graham–was sued in a robocall suit in Texas. The complaint is here: Clifford complaint
So that’s 5 TCPA suits against right-leaning political organizations in 10 days or so. And while TCPA suits certainly impact candidates and campaigns on both sides of the aisle, this set of suits looks overtly political–especially considering that all of these suits are brought by a single law firm: Kimmel & Silverman, P.C.
According to their website, “Kimmel & Silverman employs a team of nine tenacious consumer attorneys licensed in 16 states. Together with a support staff of more than 30 paralegals, legal assistants, clerks, and administrators, Kimmel & Silverman remains the most experienced, most successful consumer warranty law firm in the nation.”
It has long been feared that the TCPA–which is the broadest restriction on political speech in American history– might be effectively wielded as a weapon of political warfare designed to silence politicians or parties for their views. And while those fears have not yet been substantiated–to date these lawsuits have been a near-random smattering balanced on both sides– this effort by K&S now appears to be definitively targeting Republican interests.
This is an extremely interesting development as the TCPA is being used here not just to punish certain speakers for expressing their political views using regulated technology, but it is plainly being deployed in a litigation campaign as a means of targeting specific speakers based on the content and viewpoint expressed in those messages.
If this doesn’t raise First Amendment concerns, nothing will.
I’ll continue to keep an eye on this as it develops. (Will also try to get Mr. Craig Thor Kimmel on the podcast to discuss.)