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FCC proposes $5 million fine for 2 accused of voter intimidation through robocalls

Jack Burkman, Jacob Wohl face felony charges for orchestrating robocalls with misinformation about mail-in voting

It would be the largest fine ever under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
It would be the largest fine ever under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Two men charged with violating election laws and voter intimidation through thousands of robocalls to Detroiters ahead of the 2020 U.S. General Election could each go to jail for 12 years each.

They face another problem Tuesday, coming down the from the Federal Communications Commission.

Jack Burkman -- a 54-year-old conservative lobbyist from Virgina -- and Jacob Wohl -- a 22-year-old conspiracy theorist from California -- were arraigned in October on four felony counts each for allegedly attempting to suppress votes in multiple U.S. cities -- specifically those with significant minority populations -- in the 2020 U.S. General Election.

Prior coverage: Right-wing operatives heading to trial in Michigan over voter intimidation robocalls

The two were accused of making 85,000 robocalls to mostly minority cities -- including Detroit -- in an effort to scare people from voting by mail.

That number was dwarfed by the FCC, which is proposing a $5.1 million fine for the two. It would be the largest fine ever under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Click here to listen to an audio recording of the robocall.

“This massive fine properly reflects the seriousness of the allegations these two political operatives face,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Mr. Burkman and Mr. Wohl allegedly orchestrated a series of robocalls aimed at suppressing the vote in the November General Election. While my office will continue to pursue the criminal case against these men, I applaud the FCC for its action today.”

Burkman and Wohl are awaiting trial in Wayne County Circuit Court after a failed dismissal attempt in May. They are expected to return to court Sept. 21.


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.