State Politics

NC GOP’s Woodhouse gets a letter from attorney general, sees ‘police powers’ at work

Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. rwillett@newsobserver.com

State Republicans said questions from the Democratic state attorney general’s office about a GOP robocall are an abuse of political power.

The North Carolina Democratic Party asked Attorney General Josh Stein’s office to investigate a recorded call state Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse made to registered Republicans seeking candidates for office.

The attorney general’s consumer division sent the state GOP a letter Wednesday asking for a response to the complaint and proposed resolution.

In a news conference Friday, NC GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse criticized the state Democrats’ complaint and the request from Stein’s office.

Stein and the Democratic Party are trying to intimidate Republicans, Woodhouse said. They “attempted to use the full weight and police powers of the North Carolina Department of Justice to intimidate its rival political party, the Republicans, from making calls to voters and asking them to run for office,” Woodhouse said.

Laura Brewer, Stein’s spokeswoman, said Woodhouse is overreacting.

“There is no merit to any of these hysterical claims,” she said in an email.

 

The state has a law regulating recorded telephone calls and telephone solicitations. The law exempts calls made for a political candidate or party. Even with political calls, the people making them must give their name, contact information and reason for the call.

Kimberly Reynolds, NC Democratic Party executive director, said in her complaint that a robocall from Woodhouse did not properly identify who was paying for or sponsoring it. It asked the office to stop Woodhouse from making such calls, to levy fines for each improperly made call and, if cell phone numbers were used, to provide them to the Federal Communications Commission.

Reynolds, in a statement, said the Woodhouse call broke the law.

“Dallas Woodhouse and the NC GOP should apologize for their blatant disregard of state law and be fined for every improper call that was placed,” she said.

Brewer said in an email that the letter from the consumer protection division was routine.

“Our office has no position at this time on whether or not those laws were broken in this instance – we are merely asking for more information as is our standard practice,” Brewer wrote.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner

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