Ken Miller Robocalls the State

Marnee Banks and John Adams are reporting that Ken Miller is the latest Montana candidate illegally using robocalls to get a message out to voters the same week that absentee ballots are being sent out. Unlike the targeted approach used by Attorney General candidate Pam Bucy, however, Miller seems to be blanketing the state, with over 100,000 calls going out already.

Miller’s list for the calls seems suspect. A number of friends who seem quite unlikely to vote for a “TEA Party-endorsed candidate” received the call today. In fact, I received the call at 10:03 a.m.

The best part of the message is that Miller takes the idea of robocalls to entirely new robotic level. Listen for yourself; the passion and fire are evocative of HAL 9000 on a heavy dose of barbiturates.


If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

Subscribe to our posts

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


Click here to post a comment

Please enter an e-mail address

  • Don, can you explain why you fail to address how the Democratic Party of Montana and Governor Schweitzer have been clients of a robocalling outfit?

    We offer political telemarketing services to Democratic Party elected officials, candidates and causes. Our services include live operator phone banks, automated call broadcasts (robocalls) and TeleForums (telephone town halls).

    Our diverse client base ranges from federal and state office holders and candidates (constituent and voter outreach), national and regional union groups (member communications) as well as regional and local candidates and issues (local elections, school board races, bond measures) all over the country.

    You can trust us with a diversity of projects including Voter ID and persuasion voter contact, multi-question polls and surveys and GOTV calls.

    • Did you see the post the other day about a Democrat doing the same thing? Wow, it was here.

      Now show me one post or comment you’ve made in five years critical of a Montana Republican. Good luck!

    • “Our services include live operator phone banks,”

      That was quick. Are you putting evidence against your own points in the quotes you choose just to test if we are reading? If so, it’s actually pretty clever; I should start doing that to Mark to tell if he’s reading what I write or ‘robocommenting’.

  • The Dems break this law much more often than the Republicans, but no one’s hands are clean. There are some bonehead and slimy Republicans out there (ala today’s news) that also don’t care about the law. It is difficult to enforce, and is possibly un-Constitutional. However, until it is repealed or fixed, it is the law.

    Here’s my solution on how to make it easier to enforce: move the political robo-call ban from a criminal violation in Title 45 to a Consumer Protection Act violations in Title 23 or whatever. Then for allow the aggrieved party (any opponent in the same race, or the victim of the attack call) to sue the party that is doing the robo dials. Allow triple damages of the total amount paid for the total robo call, plus court costs, PLUS ATTORNEY’S FEES. I can guarantee this will stop robo dials in Montana.

    The law as it currently stands allows only a county attorney to prosecute. They have too many real crimes to worry about to go after a law that might get thrown out on First Amendment grounds. But throw in some pissed off political opponents and allow them to collect triple damages and attorney fees (that is already the award under other consumer protection laws) and you will change the game.

    But don’t do it for a while. I have a feeling Ken Miller is going to need to save his money for his own attorney fees.

  • Is there any credible research supporting the belief that robocalls help rather than hurt?

    When I had a landline, I hung up as soon as I realized I was listening to a recording, in the process uttering commentary that would provoke a luminous blush from the most profane dockworker who ever lived. Perhaps others react with greater charity, but listening to an entire robocall strikes me as possible evidence of a reasoning impairment.

    Is there credible evidence that robocalls win elections? Or are robocalls just an abusive tactic that waste the candidate’s money and the voter’s time?

    • The only thing I can think is that they help candidates when name recognition is low. I bet most of the GOP candidates are under 20-30% name recognition, so calling 100,000 people would have to fix that.

      Too bad most of them would be less inclined to vote for you after.

  • I find Robocalls for any purpose intrusive and annoying, and would consider withholding a vote for a candidate, if I were going to vote for a candidate,+ for being so inconsiderate. But when you think of it, all advertising is rude and inconsiderate, invasive and annoying. Why are robocalls considered a breed apart?

    I saw the attitude of advertisers on exhibit years ago when our computers were first being overrun by pop-ups – a news organization contacted one of the ad agencies that was doing them, and asked why? The answer was “Well duuuuh – it’s our job to get your attention.”

  • Technology is changing. Robo calls and even traditional tv commercials are a relic of the past. Very advanced methods to combine social networking sites, blogs like this one, and the million bits of data that the big advertising companies and the NSA gather from our computers every day will combine to create super-targeted advertising messages. My only comfort is that Ken Miller is also a relic of the past, and hopefully this will be the last election that we have to endure his drunk Abraham Lincoln impersonation.

    • Miller graduated high school and entered the work force, not that lack of a BA or BS says much in American culture. Our colleges do not necessarily turn out educated people. Unfortunately I suspect that Miller is one of those who got all the education he thought he needed from Atlas Shrugged, a common theme on the right. It’s as if that book set aside the need to think critically and seek evidence to support hypotheses. It’s weird, as the book is nothing more than conjecture, and yet is treated as gospel.

      My suggestion for Miller and all of those who think like him: just for the fun of it, read one more book.

      • “Our colleges do not necessarily turn out educated people. ”

        Evidence, Mark? Our colleges, at least our four year ones, provide a much broader education than an equivalent degree at a European university.

Send this to a friend