Broun's robocalls will keep coming

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ATLANTA --- Computerized telephone calls aren't popular with everyone, but don't expect them to stop soon.

Twice a month, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun's office uses a computer to call half the phones in the 10th District to invite whoever answers to participate in a giant conference call. A recording plays to invite those answering to push a button to participate in what's billed as a tele-town hall meeting.

According to the staff of the Athens Republican, as many as 17,000 participate in the average call, and 20 or so get to ask the congressman a question.

"We get a tremendous participation, and most of the feedback that we get -- and by 'most,' I mean upwards of 90 percent -- is incredibly positive," Broun spokesman John Kennedy said.

Dr. Broun considers the calls part of his official duty, using taxpayer funds and his staff to conduct them. Still, campaign-finance reform laws prohibit members of Congress from making them 90 days before an election, such as the July primary.

An exception in the federal do-not-call law allows government calls and those that are political.

A bill in the state Legislature would have required that the calls begin with a live operator asking the person who answers whether to continue or not. The author of the bill, state Sen. Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, had speculated that the cost of the operator would make the calls too expensive to continue.

His bill was gutted in the House and is dead for the year.

Dr. Broun's campaign spokesman, Tim Echols, said "robocalls" will be part of the fall effort to win votes.

Most of the candidates angling for Dr. Broun's job have sworn off robocalls.

"Our first campaign pledge ever was no robocalls ever," Republican John Stone said.

Democrat Bobby Saxon also vowed not to use them.

Republican Barry Fleming's staff wouldn't say what its strategy is so far.

CALL U.S. REP. PAUL BROUN

To have your phone number removed from the automated call list, contact Mr. Broun's district office for the Augusta/Evans area at (706) 447-3857.

Comments (10) Add comment
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Just My Opinion
6238
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Just My Opinion 04/05/08 - 04:01 am
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I like Dr. Broun and what

I like Dr. Broun and what he's done for all of us since he's been in office, but I do certainly plan on calling his office to be taken OFF the automated call list! I hate getting these intrusive, annoying, commercial-calls. However, I recognize that they are being used nowadays because the latest technology provides for it. I just don't want it. Do you hear us, Dr. Broun? And believe me, your governmental peers would also be using it, but they're afraid it'll cost them votes if they did!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/05/08 - 08:02 am
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I can think of a thousand

I can think of a thousand ways I'm more offended by the government then by robocalls. While it's a very minor inconvenience to not participate (hang up) it's not nearly as intrusive as most action taken by politicians.

pipermom
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pipermom 04/05/08 - 09:55 am
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I didn't give permission for

I didn't give permission for my money that the government takes from me regularly to be used in this way!

ponytailfnp
21
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ponytailfnp 04/05/08 - 10:23 am
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I for one, love the

I for one, love the opportunity to listen to Dr. Broun and have had the opportunity to ask him a question during these conversations and bring to the forefront a specific concern of mine related to access to health care and the reimbursement of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants for primary care. He was well informed and already a supporter of the bill I was requesting information on. It is amazing to listen to some of the people who want to ask him questions concerning the clientele at their hair salon and multiple "personal" needs that do not need to be addressed in the Federal legistlature. I was not aware that tax funds were paying for these calls though and (silly me) had assumed that Dr. Broun was paying for this "service" from his budget and / or campaign funds. As to not participating, I agree with the previous poster.... just hang up and then email his office requesting to be taken off of the call list.

Pickett
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Pickett 04/05/08 - 10:23 am
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For all of you idiots who

For all of you idiots who refused to vote for Jim Whitehead solely because of his robocalls, what do you think of your "candidate" now? You people are pathetic to vote someone like Paul Broun into office. Especially after he lost horribly to Whitehead in June 07 by a 2 to 1 margin. Broun sold out his party to the democrats (mostly Athens) just to get elected and Augusta/Columbia County has no one to blame but themselves. You really need to research Broun. He is as shady as they come. Why don't you ask him, should you get the chance, why he is not ALLOWED to practice medice in a hospital in the state of Georgia? He doesn't do house calls only out of the goodness of his heart. You don't go to med school for 8 years solely for that purpose. If Broun gets elected again, then you get what you deserve.

LittleLady
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LittleLady 04/05/08 - 11:27 am
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First, John Stone is not

First, John Stone is not angling for Paul Broun's seat, GA-10. He is a candidate for GA-12 Congressional seat which is held by John Barrow. Secondly, I commend Congressman Broun for conducting these telephonic town-hall meetings. I find it informative, not just for his position on issues, but also what is on voters' minds. It is an excellent venue for him to get feedback directly from his consitituents. I think every elected official should be as accessible and genuine as Congreeman Broun has been. I wish we had 434 more Paul Brouns in U.S. House of Representatives.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11034
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 04/05/08 - 02:27 pm
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These calls are a nuisance

These calls are a nuisance and if I had my way he'd be prosecuted for it.

Little Lamb
48821
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Little Lamb 04/05/08 - 04:12 pm
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I'm voting for Broun in the

I'm voting for Broun in the summer and (hopefully) in the fall. The summer primary is the more important for Broun supporters to get out the vote.

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 04/05/08 - 09:17 pm
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Is it not a subtle way of

Is it not a subtle way of campaigning? Your tax dollars at work!

nahali
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nahali 04/06/08 - 11:22 am
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Here's the thing. The man is

Here's the thing. The man is "against government waste" yet has conducted at least 10 tele-townhalls (probably more accurately 15 to 20) at $1200 a pop and sends out more franked mail that almost every other member - and not just letters. No, slick mailers, and those cost a ridiculous amount. He campaigned as an independent but was heralding the fact that the rest of the state GOP members were giving him a DC PAC fundraiser at $2500 per seat. He's not independent or an outsider, as he likes to claim; he's just as bought and paid for as any other member of Congress. And don't get me wrong - I understand that running for Congress takes money, but don't lie about it and claim your the little outsider trying to stand up to the big money lobbyists while you're up in DC getting cozy with them to fill your campaign coffers! And don't lie and say you're against government waste as you spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to run your campaign from your federal office. This guy is as low as they come. We should've known that when he was caught raising money off of Charlie Norwood's illness last year.

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