If affirmed, the proposed FCC fine against Wohl and Burkman would represent the largest ever brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the FCC said. The law outlaws robocalls sent to consumers who have not previously opted into receiving the calls.
CNN reached out to attorneys for Burkman and Wohl for comment Wednesday.
As part of its investigation, the FCC said, officials interviewed consumers and also reviewed subpoenaed call records and recordings provided by two dialing service providers that Wohl and Burkman had hired to conduct the robocalling campaign. The 1,141 calls had been placed on Aug. 26 and Sept. 14, 2020, identified Wohl and Burkman by name and used Burkman’s phone number for the caller ID, the FCC added.
The call falsely claimed that mail-in voters will have their personal information shared with law enforcement “to track down old warrants” and that they could be added to a list for “mandatory vaccines.”
Wohl and Burkman’s alleged campaign had reached “approximately 5,500 New Yorkers, sought to undermine and interfere with the then-ongoing efforts by the state of New York to fairly and safely administer its elections during the COVID-19 crisis and protect its citizens from voter intimidation and harassment,” her office previously said in a statement.
The FCC said Burkman and Wohl have “admitted, under oath, their involvement in the creation and distribution of the robocalls,” citing court transcripts from that lawsuit.
CNN previously reported the voice on the robocall said it was sponsored by a group founded by Burkman and Wohl, who have spent years perpetrating hoaxes and false smears against Democratic politicians and opponents of former President Donald Trump.
During an interview with CNN last year, Wohl denied that he or Burkman was responsible for the misleading and racist calls and said they had learned about them only after Burkman started receiving angry messages from people who had seen his number on their caller ID.
“We’ve never done any robocalls,” Wohl said at the time. “We are categorically uninvolved.”
CNN’s Oliver Darcy, Sonia Moghe and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.