POLITICS
09/11/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Anonymous Group Making Robocalls With Fake Harry Reid Caller ID

Congressional staffers have been plagued over the past two days with telephone calls that appear to be coming from Senate Majority Harry Reid's office but are actually from an anonymous organization highly critical of Democrats.

Several aides on the Hill reported receiving calls on Monday and Tuesday that their Caller ID erroneously said were being made from Reid's headquarters. Upon picking up the phone, they were greeted by an automated message of approximately 45 seconds in length.

Neither source recorded the call. But Adrianna Surfas, a press secretary for Rep. Rosa DeLauro, (D-Conn) relayed that the caller said there was "too much spending going on in D.C. but that Republicans weren't to blame."

Jeff Ventura, the director of communications at the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer said that several colleagues had received the automated call. "We don't know who is doing it, but clearly it is some advocacy group, which we believe is against health care reform," he said.

According to Ventura, the group making the calls is engaging in an activity called "caller ID spoofing." Using a certain technology, callers can make an incorrect caller identification appear on the recipient's phone. Both chambers of Congress attempted to outlaw the practice in 2007. But those pieces of legislation have yet to become law.

UPDATE: Senator Reid weighs into the issue, casting blame for the calls on "Republican defenders of the status quo."

"While it is still uncertain who is placing these calls or where they are originating from, creating a false caller ID is dishonest and misleading. They represent yet another attempt by Republican defenders of the status quo to distract from the real issues," said Reid's Rodell Mollineau. "Whether it's disrupting town halls, spreading outrageous lies about health reform or even denying President Obama's American citizenship, these Republicans have shown that their only goal is to stop America from moving forward."

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