Huffpost Politics

As Wisconsin Recall Heats Up, Fresh Round Of Spam Text Messages Targets Tom Barrett

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On Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's (D) gubernatorial campaign office was flooded with calls from Wisconsinites who had received a spam text message labeling the mayor a "union puppet" and telling them to phone his headquarters. On Wednesday, a similar message was sent out to people's cell phones, resulting in a fresh round of calls to Barrett.

Tuesday's message, from "WI@obamasaliar.com," read: "Tom Barrett is a Union Puppet who will give Union Thugs everything they want. Call & ask why 414-271-8050." The number goes to Barrett's office.

Wednesday's text message was the same, but it came from the email address "WI@publicalerts2012.com."

View the message below, sent to The Huffington Post by a Wisconsin source:



A Barrett spokesman told The Huffington Post that the campaign continued to get a significant number of calls due to the text messages on Wednesday, but the total was down from Tuesday's volume.

The Barrett campaign on Tuesday pinned the blame for the text messages on Gov. Scott Walker (R) or one of his allies, but the Walker campaign has vigorously denied any involvement.

Scott Goodstein -- the external online director for Obama for America and founder of Revolution Messaging, a progressive strategy firm that has been working to expose text-message spamming in political campaigns -- is running a petition opposing the tactic.

"These tactics are not just unethical -- they're also illegal for two reasons," Goodstein said in a statement. "First, the people receiving the text messages never opted into the program and are not offered [an] opportunity to unsubscribe. Not only are the senders of the message disrespecting the personal property of the recipients of these messages; they are also disrespecting their pocketbooks as end users often pay for messages received."

"As the true sender of these messages is hidden it is also highly unlikely that these thousands of texts have been reported on a financial disclosure statement, and are therefore violating campaign finance laws," he added.

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