Begich Bill Would Shush Political Calls

After losing an election that was the most expensive — and some say annoying — in state history, outgoing Sen. Mark Begich has proposed a bill that would curtail political calls to voters’ homes.

Download Audio

Begich proposes to expand the “Do Not Call” registry to superPACs and political non-profits. Americans have registered more than 217 million phones on the “Do Not Call” list, but that only keeps commercial telemarketers at bay. The Begich bill would require political groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash to abide by the same rules that apply to telemarketers. It would also prohibit robocalls to any phone on the registry and ban telephone push-polling in general. It does not cover candidates or political parties.

More than $57 million was spent on Alaska’s 2014 Senate race, most of it by outside groups of the sort Begich is targeting in the bill. Although Begich lost to Republican Dan Sullivan, the outside money favored Begich. Some $22 million was spent on behalf of Begich, compared to about $18 million to help Sullivan.