Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Texas) campaign was sued by a Texas resident who alleged the U.S. Senate hopeful sent constituents unsolicited text messages—a violation of the law.
The class-action lawsuit, filed on Oct. 19 in the Northern District of Texas Court, listed Collin County resident Sameer Syeed as a plaintiff. The suit alleges, on behalf of all Texans, that the campaign sent texts to voters without obtaining their permission, the Star-Telegram reported.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act bans the use of “automatic telephone” equipment to send texts or calls to a person’s cellphone without their permission, other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with prior consent, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In the lawsuit, Syeed says that since the start of 2018, he’s received nine texts from the “Beto for Texas” campaign, though they didn’t obtain permission to contact him. When he tried to call the numbers back, he said the calls resulted in error messages or disconnected dial tones, indicating they came from an automated phone system. Syeed also texted back in an attempt to stop the messages, but got no response.
Chris Evans, the communications director for the Beto for Texas campaign, told the newspaper that the program is legal.
“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,” he said.
According to RealClearPolitics, the average among polls it tracked this month show Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz with a lead of 7 percentage points over O’Rourke.
Currently, Republicans have slim majorities in both the Senate and House. President Donald Trump, hoping to maintain that majority, has gone on a campaign blitz, rallying in a number of states over the past few weeks in the runup to the midterms.
On Twitter, Trump chided O’Rourke for not representing the Texans in his state.
“Beto O’Rourke is a total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz, and he comes nowhere near representing the values and desires of the people of the Great State of Texas,” he wrote in an Oct. 19 post. “He will never be allowed to turn Texas into Venezuela!”