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Conservative group sued for unsolicited texts

SOUTH Bend, Ind. — a conservative Supreme Court lobbying group is under fire for sending unsolicited and potentially illegal text messages to some Hoosiers.

A more than $1 million media blitz is underway by the Washington D.C.-based Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) as conversations continue between Congress and President Trump’s second Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.

The conservative group backing the nominee is putting pressure on red-state Democrats like Sen. Joe Donnelly.

But some of Donnelly’s constituents say the group went too far.

According to court documents, the JCN sent this message to at least two different Hoosiers telling them to call Donnelly and demand he confirm Kavanaugh.

Both of them filed a class action complaint, alleging that text was both unwanted and illegal according to two federal laws.

The first law is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits a call or text to a phone using auto dialing without prior consent.

The second, the Truth in Caller I.D. Act, which makes it unlawful to spoof a number to a recipient in order to mislead.

The number that sent the text message redirected to the senator’s D.C. office although the message was signed by the JCN.

“Judicial Crisis Network used a peer to peer texting system that is identical to the system used by Bernie Sanders and other Democratic politicians – contrary to the baseless allegations, we did not use automatic dialers," said a JCN spokesperson. “Also, the allegation that we engaged in spoofing is false because the number displayed on the text message was in fact owned by the vendor who sent the text message. When that number was called, the call was forwarded to Senator Donnelly’s office to assist his constituents in communicating with him.”

“If they truly had faith in their message, special interest groups like Judicial Crisis Network wouldn't need to stoop to underhanded tactics in order to influence Indiana voters,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, the communications director of Donnelly for Indiana. “Hoosiers deserve the right to determine where they stand free from shady and potentially illegal tactics like those alleged in this lawsuit."

Sen. Donnelly is scheduled to meet with Judge Kavanaugh on August 15th.

Editor's note: this story has been updated to include a statement from the JCN.

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