GOP consultant arrested for illegal "robocalls"

Published: Nov. 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2010 at 6:53 PM EDT
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Robert Cahaly (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)
Robert Cahaly (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)- The State Law Enforcement Division has arrested a Republican consultant for making illegal political calls involving six House District races in South Carolina.

41-year-old Robert Cahaly faces charges that he purchased, then disseminated computer-generated calls from an automatically dialed announcing service to potential South Carolina voters on September 23.

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.

We previously reported that the Ken Ard's campaign manager was accused of robocalling and that there was a warrant issued for his arrest. In fact, the campaign manager is not accused of robocalling and is not in trouble with the law.

SLED has 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 Monday night, after reports of the SLED investigation were called in to our newsroom. In the statement 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 said he had not been interviewed by investigators, "and we will be fully cooperative with them when asked," the statement continued.

Cahaly's online biography lists 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.

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

Cahaly is being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

Robert Cahaly has not responded to our requests for an interview as of this report.

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