Text messages attacking Mark Dayton — claiming he was against Catholics — were sent to cell-phone users in Minnesota before the Nov. 2 election by the National Organization for Marriage in Washington, D.C., the Duluth News Tribune reports.
Some of the recipients had assumed the messages had been sent by Catholic Church officials, but church officials say they had nothing to do with it, the paper said.
The paper said texts read: “Tell Mark Dayton and (the) DFL to stop attacks on Catholics.” It included a phone number for Dayton’s campaign headquarters, and a YouTube link featuring a news report on what some believed were anti-Catholic campaign ads put out by the Minnesota DFL.
The National Organization for Marriage advocates against gay marriage and spent about $300,000 in the last election, mostly campaigning in the Delaware and California Senate campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission records and OpenSecrets.org, a nonprofit that tracks campaign spending.
Officials apparently aren’t sure how the group obtained the numbers for the cell phones that received the texts.
Notes the paper:
There is no directory of cell phone numbers, said Rosemary Kimball, a spokeswoman for the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates cell phone use.
If the National Organization for Marriage or anyone it hired used a random-dial generator to send unsolicited texts, as many groups do, that would be illegal, Kimball said — but difficult to track and investigate.
Cell phone users wanting to keep their numbers away from callers they don’t know can register with the National Do Not Call List, www.fcc.gov/cgb/donotcall.
Complaints about getting unsolicited texts can be filed at esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm.