Prosecutor: ‘Statute's just crazy,' drops charges Cahaly - - Columbia, South Carolina

Prosecutor: ‘Statute's just crazy,' drops charges against GOP consultant

Robert Cahaly's 2010 booking photo (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center) Robert Cahaly's 2010 booking photo (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A South Carolina solicitor's office has dropped six "robo-call" charges against a South Carolina Republican campaign consultant after finding the law was, "just crazy." That's the way 1st Circuit assistant solicitor Harrison Bell described the statute that prohibits automated calls to voters.

"The statute was just crazy that he was charged with," Bell told WIS, "It made no sense to us. We read it and it was written poorly. We read it and didn't think we could sustain a conviction."

The State Law Enforcement Division agent Paul LaRosa took out six warrants against GOP consultant Robert Cahaly, 43, and charged him with making illegal political calls involving six House District races in South Carolina. LaRosa accused Cahaly of purchasing and disseminated computer-generated calls from an automatically dialed announcing service to potential South Carolina voters on September 23, 2010.

According to SLED, the calls were political in nature and were allegedly made without properly disclosing the identity of the originating party to the call recipients, which is in violation of SC Code 16-17-446.

SLED determined that the calls were made through a Richland County landline telephone number owned by Gadsden and Greene Strategies, a company owned by Cahaly.

The calls, according to SLED, were allegedly made to numerous voters in House Districts 26 (Greenville and Pickens), 78 (Richland County), 79 (Kershaw and Richland Counties), 98 (Dorchester County), 108 (Charleston and Georgetown Counties) and 115 (James Island and Folly Beach).

Cahaly released a statement when WIS contacted him after his arrest. Cahaly wrote, "We do not have all the details as to what is going on. It is sad and disappointing that in this charged election cycle full of last minute surprise attacks that Democrat Incumbents and power brokers are leveraging all of their influence to create a last minute salacious headline. We are apparently today's target." The statement continued, "We have not violated the law and in fact, have gone to extraordinary means this election cycle to comply with all the election laws. It is obvious that the Democrats are practicing "the accuse first, ask questions later" philosophy of modern campaign tactics."

Cahaly's online biography listed him as president of Gadsden and Greene, Bonnie Blue Public Relations and owner of Campaign Services. The firms have offices in Atlanta, Greenville, and Columbia. Cahaly graduated from the University of South Carolina, worked as public affairs for the 5th Circuit Solicitor's office in Columbia and worked as a senior staffer in Governor David Beasley's office.

Richland County prosecutors sent the case to Orangeburg County solicitor David Pascoe to prosecute.

"Robocall" crimes are misdemeanors and carry fines between $200 and $500, and jail sentences up to 30 days.

Cahaly was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on Nov. 2, 2010. It took prosecutors 18 months to decide to drop the charges against the him.

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