Telemarketing calls came without disclosure, recipients say

A spokesperson for the company who was behind the calls had previously told reporters that the calls did have a disclaimer on them.
(Austin Goss Dakota News Now/KOTA)
Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 7:02 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - Recipients of a telemarketing phone call aimed at pushing for the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg say that the call did not offer a disclaimer.

The calls from Grand Solutions Inc., a political telemarketing company based out of Ohio, went out to constituents of state lawmakers on the “Select Committee on Investigation,” tasked with considering the impeachment of Ravnsborg.

Jonathan Patrea, who identifies himself as a spokesperson for Angel Kane of Grand Solutions, had previously told reporters that those on the receiving end of the phone calls would have heard a disclaimer, identifying the client who had paid for the calls.

However, calls by reporters to 57 recipients of the call resulted in none confirming Patrea’s account of how the calls went.

Furthermore, in several minutes of voicemails left by Grand Solutions on caller’s phones, at no instance is a disclaimer heard being read to callers on the other line.

Patrea, an Ohio resident who is a Senior Partner at Ascendant Public Policy Group according to his LinkedIn, told reporters Tuesday that he stands by his previous claim that disclaimers were a part of the phone calls.

There are federal and state laws associated with requiring a disclaimer on communications paid for by political organizations. According to SDCL 12-27-15, “Any printed material or communication made, purchased, paid for, or authorized by a candidate or political committee that disseminates information concerning a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party shall prominently display or clearly speak the statement: “Paid for by (name of candidate or political committee).”

At the federal level, the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) stipulates that, “if the candidate or candidate’s campaign authorizes and finances a communication (including any solicitation) requiring a disclaimer, the notice must state that the communication was paid for by the authorized committee.

An accidental voicemail recording of Angel Kane obtained by Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory News appears to implicate Governor Kristi Noem in helping to orchestrate the campaign. However, both Noem and her campaign have vehemently denied having anything to do with the calls. Patrea has also said that no “politician, political campaign, party, or political organization” were involved in facilitating the telemarketing campaign.

Members of the impeachment committee motioned Monday to request a federal or out of state law enforcement agency to look into the origins of the calls. The committee also formally requested “that Ravnsborg recuse himself from any such investigation.”

“After answering 24 of those calls myself, I always knew they didn’t have a disclaimer,” said Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham), a member of the impeachment committee. “This is just more of a reason why we have serious concerns about the nature of these calls, and we intend to investigate their origins further.”

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