Michigan AG files charges against Jack Burkman, Jacob Wohl for election related robocalls
Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed charges against Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl for allegedly using robocalls in an attempt to suppress the vote in the presidential election.
Jack Burkman, 54, and Jacob Wohl, 22, are each charged with:
- One count of election law – intimidating voters, a five-year felony;
- One count of conspiracy to commit an election law violation, a five-year felony;
- One count of using a computer to commit the crime of election law – intimidating voters, a seven-year felony; and
- Using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy, a seven-year felony
No dates have been set for arraignment. Both live out of state.
Burkman and Wohl are accused of funding robocalls to 12,000 residents in the 313 area code in late August that attempted to discourage voters from participating in the general election, according to Nessel.
The recorded robocalls warned people about being “finessed into giving your private information to the man” and urged them to “beware of vote by mail.”
Text of the robocall:
I this is Tameka Taylor from Project 1599, a civil rights organization founded by Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. Mail in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts? The CDC is even pushing to use records for mailing voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don't be finessed into giving your private information to the man. Stay safe and beware of vote by mail. (Listen to the call)
Nessel said the caller, who claims to be associated with an organization founded by Burkman and Wohl, falsely tells people mail-in voting will allow personal information to become part of a special database used by police to track down old warrants and by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts. The caller also deceptively claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the information to track people for mandatory vaccines. None of that is true.
Nessel communicated with attorneys general in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois. All reported similar robocalls being made to residents in urban areas with large minority populations, reports said.
“Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences,” Nessel said. “This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election. We’re all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built. Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that.”
The Attorney General encourages anyone who received this call on or about Aug. 26 and who wishes to file a complaint about it to contact her office by calling 517-335-7650.
Information callers may be asked to provide in their complaint will include:
- Complainant’s name, address and contact information;
- Date and time of when the robocall was received;
- Phone number of the line where the call was received;
- Number displayed on caller ID when the call was received;
- Whether the robocall went to voicemail or was answered live;
- The complainant’s recollection of the robocall content and their thoughts about the call;
- Whether the complainant is and has been a Michigan resident for six months or more; and
- Whether the complainant is a registered voter or is eligible to vote.