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Lawsuit Over Robo Calls

September 19, 2012, 9:59 PM by Don Jorgensen

Lawsuit Over Robo Calls

Dirty politics or crafty campaigning; whatever you want to call it, a Sioux Falls attorney plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of some of the state lawmakers who are being attacked with robo calls and emails.

"Senator Russell Olson also believes South Dakota National Guard members do not deserve to go to college.  Call Senator Olson at [redacted] and ask him why he doesn't support the South Dakota National Guard and why you are a terrorist," one call says.

These robo calls, highly criticizing some state lawmakers, are now at the center of a state investigation and lawsuit.

"What we are alleging is violation of campaign finance laws, several violations that have been made," attorney Joel Arends said.

Arends, who is representing the group of lawmakers, says the robo calls fail to include the required "Paid for by" disclosure, while others include a "Paid for by" disclosure for a group that has not filed with the Secretary of State's Office.

"Best case scenario, these are people who are in over their heads, who just don't understand campaign finance laws," Arends said. "Worst case scenario, these are people who are purposefully trying to violate South Dakota laws because they don't want you to know who's running these campaigns, but either way, we still plan to forward all of our information to the Attorney General's office and we still intend to pursue an injunction in court until these anonymous organizations come into compliance with the law."

But the trouble is right now, they don't know who they are suing.

"What we are going to be doing is filing the lawsuit against John Doe and then from there we'll conduct discovery in order to find out who actually is behind them," Arends said.

And when they do, the investigation and lawsuit will move forward.

"When we find out, we will serve subpoenas on those people and we will ask them to come forward in court so we can further litigate it," Arends said.

Arends says they also plan to subpoena phone records and email service providers as part of the investigation. He plans to file the lawsuit Thursday in Minnehaha County.

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