SLED issues arrest warrants on Election Day for robo-calls
COLUMBIA — Robert Cahaly, campaign adviser to Republican lieutenant governor nominee Ken Ard, is expected to surrender to authorities Wednesday after he was accused of making illegal robo-calls to potential voters.
Some of those alleged calls went to residents in House District 115, which includes Folly Beach and James Island, as well as in District 98 in Dorchester County and in District 108, which includes parts of Charleston County.
Cahaly is charged with six counts of automatically dialed announcing device violations, said Jennifer Timmons, public information officer for the State Law Enforcement Division.
Cahaly, 41, of Pendleton is accused of paying for and disseminating automated telephone calls, also known as robo-calls, from an automatically dialed answering device on Sept. 23. These calls were political in nature and were allegedly made to potential South Carolina voters without properly disclosing the identity of the originating party to the call recipients, which is a violation of state law, SLED said in a news release.
SLED said it determined that the illegal calls were made through a Richland County land line telephone number owned by Gadsden and Greene Strategies, which is also owned by Cahaly.
The calls allegedly were made to numerous voters in House Districts 26 (Greenville and Pickens), 78 (Richland County), 79 (Kershaw and Richland Counties), 98, 108 (Charleston and Georgetown counties) and 115.
Cahaly has made arrangements to surrender to SLED agents Wednesday, according to WIS-TV.
Messages left for him were not immediately returned.
Ard faces Democrat Ashley Cooper of Charleston in today’s election.
Earlier Tuesday, Ard’s son was charged with driving under the influence, according to The Associated Press. Twenty-year-old James Ard of Effingham was booked at the Florence County jail shortly before 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Ken Ard told WBTW-TV he would talk about his campaign but would handle family matters privately. His campaign did not immediately return messages seeking comment about Cahaly’s arrest warrants.
An e-mail was sent to The Post and Courier Monday evening from someone identifying himself as Cahaly, of the Atlanta-based Gadsden and Greene Strategies.
“We have not violated the law and, in fact, have gone to extraordinary means this election cycle to comply with all the election laws,” the e-mail said. “It is obvious that the Democrats are practicing ‘the accuse first, ask questions later’ philosophy of modern campaign tactics.”
State Rep. Anne Peterson Hutto, a Democrat who faced two election challengers in District 115, asked SLED in September to investigate what she believes to be illegal political calls that apparently were made to some James Island voters.
A recorded voice on the calls asked: “Press one if you think incumbent Democrat Anne Peterson Hutto should invite her fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi to come and campaign with her.” Hutto believes the calls may be illegal because the caller didn’t identify himself, say on whose behalf he was calling, or who paid for the call.
Hutto faced Republican Peter McCoy and Green candidate Eugene Platt in the District 115 race.
Lachlan McIntosh, who works for both the Hutto and Cooper campaigns, has said voters in at least three other House districts where Democratic women are seeking re-election received similar calls, and they came from a Midlands area code.