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TCPA Lawsuits on Both Sides of the Aisle: Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Sued

Bernie Sanders frowning

Posted by Chris Alarie on Wed, 06/17/2020 - 10:44

As we enter the summer of an election year, we are seeing further evidence of how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) poses risks for political campaigns. This week, a TCPA class action was filed against the erstwhile presidential campaign of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

The case—Jacob Buller and Cody Olson v. Bernie 2020 Inc., Case No. 20-cv-01368-ECT-TNL—centers on text messages allegedly sent by the Sanders campaign to the two plaintiffs. The texts encouraged them to watch the campaign’s latest ad on YouTube. The plaintiffs allege that they had not given consent to receive the messages and that they were sent by an Automated Telephone Dialing System (ATDS).

The plaintiffs received the text messages in October 2019 and the case was filed in the District of Minnesota. This is an interesting coincidence because President Trump’s re-election campaign is also facing a TCPA class action stemming from text messages sent in October 2019 for a Minnesota-based campaign rally.

Of course, while the similarity of these details is a coincidence, the fact that two presidential campaigns face TCPA lawsuits is not. The TCPA does not discriminate based on party or ideology, as the far right, Republican president and his former left wing, Democratic challenger are both on the receiving end of class actions. If campaigns and political organizations are not careful, election season could also be TCPA class action season.