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Last week, TCPAWorld reported that Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ed Markey (D-MA) had written to US Attorney General William Barr and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging that they take action against a bombardment “illegal robocalls, including calls that promise coronavirus testing and possible cures.”

Not to be outdone by their Senate colleagues, Congressmen Michael Doyle (D-PA) and Robert Latta (R-OH), the Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, have penned a similar plea to Messrs. Barr and Pai. In a letter, dated April 1, 2020, they, along with fellow Subcommittee members Greg Gianforte (R- MT) and Donald McEachin (D-VA), urged the Attorney General and FCC Chairman to “take all necessary actions to safeguard and protect Americans from …harmful and deceptive calls” precipitated by the COVID-19 virus crisis.

They specifically cite Section 11 of the Thune-Pallone TRACED Act that directs the Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau “to provide any evidence it obtains suggesting a willful, knowing and repeated robocall violation with an intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value, to the Attorney General.” Noting that this provision, along with the potential increased civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call for intentional violators, was a strong deterrent, the Members urged the letter recipients to “go after these illegal robocallers aggressively and use all the tools Congress has given you to deter and enforce violations of the law effectively.”

The Members ask that they be informed “what steps the FCC and DOJ will be taking to address the increase in robocalls related to the COVD-19 Pandemic no later than April 14, 2020.”

TCPAWorld will, of course, continue to follow.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP


About this Author

Paul Besozzi, Squire Patton Boggs, telecommunications attorney
Senior Partner

Paul Besozzi concentrates in the wireless, broadband and emerging technology areas. His extensive experience of more than 30 years in the telecommunications field includes regulatory, transactional, legislative and litigation matters for clients ranging from wireless service and infrastructure providers to resellers of long-distance service, including cellular, personal communications services, specialized mobile radio, point-to-point microwave, advanced wireless services and other emerging wireless technologies.

Paul represents clients before the federal and...