Some Texans are so fed up with Beto O’Rourke’s campaign that they’re taking him to court, Fox News reports.
A group of Texans filed a lawsuit Friday accusing O’Rourke, who is running against Republican Ted Cruz for a Texas Senate seat, of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending them dozens of text messages without their permission, and with no way to end the deluge.
Sameer Syeed, the plaintiff, filed the lawsuit on “behalf of all Texans,” and demands Beto pay out $500 for each unwanted text message sent to someone with a Texas cell phone number.
According to Fox News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Syeed says he received a handful of text messages from O’Rourke’s campaign, even though he never signed up to receive campaign notifications. When he tried to call the number the texts came from, he received “error messages or disconnected dial tones, showing the calls came from an automated phone system.” Return texts went unanswered.
The Texas Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits the “use of automated telephone equipment to send texts or calls to a person’s cellphone without their permission — except for emergency purposes,” but it’s not clear that includes campaign text messages, which are often sent to residents who “opt-in” to receiving some campaign’s communications. Campaigns frequently buy and sell contact lists.
O’Rourke’s campaign says they’ve been compliant with all relevant law, though Texans may not be used to the volume of interest in Beto’s campaign.
“Our grassroots volunteer program with thousands of Texans canvassing, phone banking, texting, and organizing is the largest this state has seen. It is fully compliant with the law,” a spokesperson told the Star-Telegram.
O’Rourke’s campaign has seen an unprecedented level of interest, particularly from outside Texas, but has faltered in recent weeks. After an embarrassing debate performance — in which Beto echoed President Donald Trump in calling Cruz, “Lyin’ Ted” — O’Rourke fell behind in the polls and now trails Cruz by at least nine points. And although O’Rourke raised an incredible $38 million in the last quarter, he’s labored under an intense “burn rate,” spending more than three-quarters of what he’s taken in, and still running far behind.