Minnesotans sue Trump campaign for rally texts

Published 5:59 am Tuesday, October 22, 2019

By Briana Bierschbach

MPR News/90.1

Three Minnesotans are suing President Trump’s reelection campaign for allegedly violating federal law and their privacy with mass text messages sent out ahead of his Minneapolis rally.

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Dan Pederson, Connor Olsen and Shell Wheeler, all registered Democrats, filed the lawsuit in federal court on Friday. They said they’ve never donated to Trump or consented to being sent text messages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act bans auto-dialing text messages without user consent.

“The transmission of an unsolicited text message to a cellular device is distracting and aggravating to the recipient; intrudes upon the recipient’s seclusion; wastes a quantifiable amount of available data on the recipient’s cellular device, thereby reducing its data storage capacity,” the lawsuit reads.

A message was sent out to thousands of Minnesotans ahead of Trump’s Oct. 10 rally at the Target Center asking the recipient to attend his “historic” rally in Minneapolis. That was followed by another text with a link to sign up for free tickets. At the rally, Trump claimed more than 100,000 people signed up to attend.

Another text, according to the lawsuit, targeted 2nd District DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for her support of the impeachment inquiry. “Enough hearings. Enough investigations. Let Rep. Craig know you stand with President Trump right now at 202-831-3386,” the message read.

The plaintiffs are seeking class action status, a jury trial and $1,500 in damages for each text message sent out without the individual’s consent.

Trump’s campaign faced a similar lawsuit after the 2016 campaign from two Chicago-area residents. The campaign settled that case for $200,000.