Wednesday, June 08, 2005

VCAP Push-Polling for McDonnell

The Virginia Conservative Action PAC (VCAP) is conducting a push-poll on behalf of Bob McDonnell, one of two candidates for the Republican nomination for Attorney General of Virginia. I know, because I was the recipient of one of the calls.

A push-poll is designed not to elicit information from the survey participant, but to implant ideas or images (generally negative) in the minds of those receiving the call. I know the difference because I have worked on dozens of campaigns and I have designed more than a handful of legitimate, information-gathering polls on behalf of clients as part of my business.

The automated call I received (according to the caller ID, from something called FECR at 571-522-6559, a Northern Virginia number) began innocently enough. It asked if I planned to vote in the primary election on Tuesday and whether I planned to vote for McDonnell or for his opponent, Steve Baril.

When I answered I planned to vote for Baril, the automated voice asked if I would change my mind if I knew that Baril had no experience as a prosecutor and that he had taken campaign contributions from trial lawyers. (I said no, my mind would not be changed.)

The poll also asked if I had heard or seen radio or TV commercials for either candidate, and whether, “other than this call,” I had received telephone calls from either campaign. (The answer was yes, since yesterday I received a call from Jim Gilmore on behalf of McDonnell, and two days ago I received a call from Baril on his own behalf.)

Finally, the automated voice identified the source of the call as the Virginia Conservative Action PAC and gave the PAC’s website address.

I wish that candidates for Attorney General would face the fact that the job they seek is not a prosecutor’s job. It is not “Commonwealth’s Attorney for the whole Commonwealth.” There are two functions of the Attorney General: the legal function is to act as a sort of “corporate lawyer” for the state government; the political function is to run for governor four years after being elected to the post of attorney general.

According to the Code of Virginia, “The Attorney General shall be the chief executive officer of the Department of Law, and shall perform such duties as may be provided by law” (§ 2.2-500). § 2.2-505 limits the scope of the Attorney General’s office considerably:

A. The Attorney General shall give his advice and render official advisory opinions in writing only when requested in writing so to do by one of the following: the Governor; a member of the General Assembly; a judge of a court of record or a judge of a court not of record; the State Corporation Commission; an attorney for the Commonwealth; a county, city or town attorney in those localities in which such office has been created; a clerk of a court of record; a city or county sheriff; a city or county treasurer or similar officer; a commissioner of the revenue or similar officer; a chairman or secretary of an electoral board; or the head of a state department, division, bureau, institution or board.

B. Except in cases where an opinion is requested by the Governor or a member of the General Assembly, the Attorney General shall have no authority to render an official opinion unless the question dealt with is directly related to the discharge of the duties of the official requesting the opinion. Any opinion request to the Attorney General by an attorney for the Commonwealth or county, city or town attorney shall itself be in the form of an opinion embodying a precise statement of all facts together with such attorney's legal conclusions.

§ 2.2-507 says that the Attorney General represents the Commonwealth in “civil matters.” But the kicker is § 2.2-511, which says, “Unless specifically requested by the Governor to do so, the Attorney General shall have no authority to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in the circuit courts of the Commonwealth except” in certain well-defined areas of the law (emphasis added).

All the candidates for Attorney General – McDonnell, Baril, and to a lesser extent (so far, presumably because he faces no primary opponent) state Senator Creigh Deeds of Bath County – have been misleading the voters by their constant drumming about prosecutorial experience and campaign platforms that focus on how Virginia should deal with criminals.

There are two reasons I plan to vote for Steve Baril on Tuesday: (1) precisely because he has never been a prosecutor and (2) because he is not Bob McDonnell, a man so vapid that he does not remember whether or not he has ever experienced oral sex.

21 comments:

Norman said...

Is he vapid Rick...or just bashful?

Chris Porter said...

I think you are being a little rough on Bob. The context, of course, was a judge who didn't report a sexual harassment settlement on her judge's questionaire. I too would be reluctant to re-appoint a judge who couldn't remember such a payment, especially when it arose from her own actions.

This question has been posed to a number of prominent people recently. Let's compare their responses.
Bob McDonnell
Q: Have you ever violated Virginia's crimes against nautre statute?
A: Not that I recall

Justice Scalia
Q: Do you sodomize your wife?
A: That's unworthy of a response. Next Question. (student escorted from the room)

Ann Coulter
Q: You say that you believe in the sanctity of marriage. How do you feel about marriages where the man does nothing but f*** his wife up the a**?
A: [No Answer] - person arrested.

I think Del. McDonnell's answer wasn't that bad, given the context. Coy, yes. Evasive, definitely. But vapid?

Anonymous said...

At 7:30 p.m., Arizona time, I received a phone call. I did not recognize the caller ID, so did not answer. Researching the number, I was amazed to find this was from Virginia politics.
How much is this costing Virginia citizens??? And who is in charge of the spending???

Lyndsay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm in AZ and I also received a call from this number yesterday. I'm glad I didn't answer. How strange that they are calling people in AZ.

Anonymous said...

That same number has been on my Caller ID numberous times over the past few days. I finally called back and it was either busy or just rang. So glad I know who it is now. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

The number has been calling me in Louisiana...

Anonymous said...

I am in Nevada and this number has been on my caller ID at least twice daily for the last four days. This is crazy that I am recieving political calls on behalf of Virginia. I have a difficult enough time keeping up with Nevadas politicians to worry about Virginia. I am very glad to know however what this mistery number is and not waste my time answering it!

Anonymous said...

Just got calls on both my numbers and I'm in Hawai`i!

Anonymous said...

I am also in Hawaii. 574-522-6559 was also on my caller ID from 8:14 pm tonight (Thurs, 7/7). Glad to know that I should NOT pick it up if they bother to call again! I don't know if it's true or not, but a friend told me that we have good ol' Pres. Bush to thank for EXEMPTING unwanted, nuisance POLITICAL phone calls when they made annoying OTHER UNSOLICITED phone calls illegal!

Anonymous said...

I received several phone calls, and I live in Hawai'i. I e-mailed them and told them to take my number off thier call list. Hopefully that will stop them from calling me.

Anonymous said...

I have also been receiving calls from this number. I am in Ohio.

Anonymous said...

Been receiving calls from the same number for days. Tonight when I answered it I heard "Are you a registered voter in Hawaii?". Since I AM in Hawaii, they must be asking specific state question for various politicials.

Even though political calls are "allowed", I have still reported them both on the DONOTCALL.GOV website AND by phone to the FTC (duplicating the report) for each call I received. I also called the number back (on my free long distance) and tried to tie it up whenever it rang.

If enough people report these "allowed" calls, somebody will have to report all the complaints and perhaps we will be allowed to be excluded from surveys and political calls.

One weird thought, suppose we addressed the FCC, FTC and Congress that we find these unsolicited calls sexually stimulating and thus, must be excluded from receiving them...

Complain to your Congressman, if you answer questions tie the phone caller up and give totally false information. Report the calls as harrassment. Call the home office of the company and demand to be added to their do-not-call list (there USED to be an entity-specific exclusion from certain calls like political calls...)

Anonymous said...

I too live in HI and received a call from 571 522-6559 at 7:27 PM. Thank goodness for Caller ID!

Anonymous said...

I am from Ohio and also received a call from FECR on Friday, 7/15 at 6:05 p.m. They left a lengthy and unwanted message on my recorder.

Anonymous said...

Just got one of these calls on my caller ID in Colorado.

Anonymous said...

Called me twice today in Colorado Springs, didn't answer, looked online about the FECR on caller ID and found this site... quite interesting. They did not leave any messages.

Anonymous said...

I live in Boulder County Colorado and received 3 calls last week from "FECR #571-522-1180" which I did not answer (thanks to caller ID). No message was left. I am registered on donotcall.gov so am wondering how they got thru. Found this website after googling "FECR." Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

I seem to receive one about every week-and-a-half. I seem to recall the number as the 6559 number.No messages left, and I, too am registered onm the Federal and Colorado no-call list. Waht is heck does FECR stand for? Even googling for it turns up nothing of interest (except for some maybe scientific sites...)

Anonymous said...

I'm in California. I just got a call from 571-522-1180, "push-polling" about propositions we're voting on next Tuesday. I Googled the number and found they're a very busy bunch of right-wingers.

Anonymous said...

I love the comments about sodomizing your wife to the justice of the supreme court. Nothing like acting like a ahole just because you can not win the debate on fact.