It’s not uncommon for politicians or political parties to request their supporters call up opponents’ phone lines in Washington to demand change or opposition to a policy or idea being debated on. Such a move is generally done to show that policy is unpopular among constituents, and can be an effective means to stop a proposal from moving forward.
But the Republican National Committee took an unconventional approach to what has been typically done, opting instead to pay a vendor to generate phone calls rather than motivate supporters the traditional way to voice their opposition to an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
According to a report from the New York Times, the GOP sought to jam up Democratic lawmakers phone lines as part of an effort to disrupt the impeachment inquiry. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, close to 11,000 phone calls were made to Democratic leaders’ offices.
The plan had two goals in mind, sources with knowledge of it said to the Times. First, it was meant to sway lawmakers’ ideas over what public opinion was on the impeachment inquiry, to make it appear as though constituents were against it. And second, it was also meant to disrupt the work of those lawmakers, by tying their offices up with so many calls.
Such an effort can make it difficult for lawmakers to access other government offices, the Times noted.
RNC funded roughly 11,000 automated calls to jam up House Democrats' phone lines amid impeachment battle: Report https://t.co/Obal6lwIFS
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 5, 2019
How it worked was like this: the RNC paid a vendor to call thousands of individuals, asking them to take part in a survey. If they responded that they didn’t approve of the impeachment hearings, they were given the choice of being connected directly with a Democratic lawmaker’s office to voice their dissatisfaction.
The plot was discussed at an event for RNC donors called the “Off the Record” dinner, two officials who spoke to the Times said.
Republicans defended their tactics.
“Our ‘stop the madness’ campaign has helped hundreds of thousands of voters get the information they need to reach out to their Democrat representatives and tell them to drop the phony impeachment inquiry and get back to work for the American people,” Mike Reed, an RNC spokesman, said.