Recent rulings from Supreme Court and FCC exempt federal government and its contractors from Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Washington (July 12, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), House author of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), today sent a letter with nine Senators to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking how the agencies intend to help protect consumers from receiving intrusive robocalls and robotexts from the federal government and its contractors. In January, the Supreme Court ruled in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez that the federal government is exempt from TCPA, but made no determination with respect to federal contractors. And the recently released Declaratory Ruling by the FCC formally exempts government contractors from the TCPA. Both decisions could pave the way for a deluge of unwanted robocalls and robotexts from federal agencies such as the Census Bureau, Social Security Administration, military recruiters, Internal Revenue Service tax collectors and others to consumers with no effective means to stop them. In 1991, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to ensure that consumers should not be subject to intrusive and unsolicited robocalls.

“We must ensure that government contractors are subject to meaningful rules that prohibit them from violating the consumer protections established by the TCPA, and that whatever rules are established can be enforced by consumers,” write the Senators in the letter to OMB Director Sean Donovan and FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler.


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


This letter is also signed by Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.), Robert Menendez (D–N.J.), Al Franken (D–Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), Cory A. Booker (D–N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D–Ohio.), and Jeffrey A. Merkley (D–Oreg.)


Last November, Senator Markey and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) led a group of 41 Senate and House members in calling on the FCC to limit unwanted robocalls and texts to those with debt owed to or backed by the federal government. Then last month, Senator Markey led a letter commending the FCC on proposed rules to protect student loan and mortgage borrowers, veterans, farmers, taxpayers, and others from unwanted robocalls and robotexts.