On Tuesday, The American Conservatives, the Republican Party’s main news outlet, published an article titled “GOP: ‘Telemarketing Fraud’ Scam ‘Absolutely Unacceptable'” that claims that “the RNC is using telemarketions to funnel funds to Republicans in need.”
The article cites a statement from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who said that telemarketings “were never intended to be used for political activity” and that the RNC “does not and will not use them for political purposes.”
This claim is contradicted by RNC communications director Jennifer Walsh, who confirmed that telemarketers “are routinely solicited to call people who need help and receive a referral for a particular project.”
The Republican National Committeemen’s Committee (RNC) is not the only party to be accused of using telemarkets to funnel campaign donations.
The American Express and Bank of America have been accused of making misleading claims about the value of their telemarket service, while a Republican Senate candidate in Wisconsin, Joe Braun, was investigated for alleged fraudulent campaign contributions.
However, while telemarketers are used for a wide range of political activities, the RNC has consistently been accused by the press of using them for a “straw poll” scheme.
In addition to the telemarket scheme, the GOP has been accused numerous times of running robocalls, in which it sends people who have received calls to their phones to listen to them.
A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2014 found that the party spent $1.8 million to send calls to 1.4 million people, including more than 500,000 to call Republicans in the past two years.
The GAO also found that in some cases, RNC staffers had “direct contact” with people in the areas targeted by robocallers, and that many of those calls were routed through RNC offices.
The report said that robocalling was an “unacceptable” practice, but noted that “this practice has become more common in recent years as many Republican organizations have embraced automated call-fraud technology.”
The RNC’s efforts to get more Republicans to sign up for its “telemarketing” service have been criticized by Democrats, but they have largely gone unmentioned.
For example, during a town hall meeting on Tuesday, RNC Chair Ronna McMullin responded to the allegations by saying that “everybody in this room has had a call that has come in about a problem.”
“We have never, ever, and we are not going to ever, use any of the telemarketer services in the RNC,” McMullon told the crowd.
The RNC did not immediately respond to the American Conservative article’s claim.