Dems Claim GOP Launched 'Dirty' Phone Campaign


WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2006 — -- Voters around the country get the recorded messages -- called robocalls -- up to five times a day, telling them to vote for Republican and Democratic candidates in their region.

Charles Hartley of Streamwood, Ill., said he has been inundated with robocalls the last three weeks from both parties but hears mainly from Republican groups.

Hartley said he has received between 25 and 30 calls from the National Republican Congressional Committee in the last three weeks and as many as two to three calls a day from Republicans talking solely about Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat who is running for Congress.

Voter David Stone of Philadelphia said he gets the same amount of calls each day and shares Hartley's experience of hearing a Democrat's name repeated continually in a recording paid for by a Republican group.

"Mostly what I'm getting is calls from Republican organizations about Lois Murphy, the Democratic candidate [for the House]. And you think the call is from Murphy and then they go on to spin the facts," Stone told ABC News.

"It's annoying," Stone said. "I think voters are hearing the name and then they think it's the Democrat pushing their candidate many times throughout the day, but it's really paid for by the Republicans."

Today Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel expanded on these Republican robocalls that use Democratic candidates' names such as Duckworth and Murphy. Emanuel said the Republicans are using "dirty tricks" by calling voters numerous times a day and making them believe the Democratic candidate paid for the message.

Emanuel was particularly frustrated with Republican robocalls that come late at night.

"What they're doing is midnight to 6 o'clock in the morning phone calls to Democratic voters in the name of Democratic candidates. This is the worst of dirty tricks," Emanuel said.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Carl Forti said his group has never played a part in these late-night calls.

"There are many groups making phone calls. The accusations against our group are totally untrue," Forti said. The NRCC never places phone calls past 8 p.m., he said.

However, Democrats still plan to use legal means and push Republicans on an FCC regulation that requires an entity responsible for a prerecorded phone call to identify themselves at the beginning of the call instead of waiting until the end.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee General Counsel Bob Bauer said if these robocalls ID the caller at the end of the message, it is a clear violation.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has not yet responded to the caller ID issue, but Forti said, "We comply with all federal laws and regulations regarding political phone calls."

Daniel Steinberger, Ellen Davis and Matt Stuart contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events