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Lawsuit alleges texts from Americans for Prosperity were unlawful and used to 'spread political ideology'

By Charmaine Little | Mar 22, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) – A Missouri man alleges nonprofit Americans for Prosperity sent unlawful text messages to "spread its political ideology" and has filed a suit in federal court.

Paul Bumpas filed lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in the Western Division on Feb. 19 over allegations of violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

AFP describes itself as a nonprofit corporation that “recruit[s] and unite[s] concerned citizens in 35 states to advance policies that will help improve their lives,” according to the lawsuit. In an effort to boost its "membership and donors and spread its political ideology," it initiated a text message autodialer campaign that dialed and text phone numbers selected at random, Bumpas alleges.

“By sending the text messages at issue, defendant has caused plaintiff and the putative class members (as defined herein) actual harm,” the lawsuit states. 

Bumpas alleges AFP sent the messages despite never receiving consent from him and the class members.

“Defendant was aware that the above-described text messages were being sent to cellphone users without their prior express consent, but defendant chose to send them anyway,” the suit states.

Because of this, Bumpas alleges he and the class members were injured as they were disturbed, the battery life of their phones were impacted as well as the screens, vibration monitors and other features.

Bumpas also alleged AFP did not send out emergency messages, but rather sent political messages. According to the lawsuit, one message the plaintiff received read: “Sen. Claire McCaskill voted 100 percent for President Obama’s judicial picks, but opposed this president’s first nominee, Justice Gorsuch. Is she playing politics?”

Bumpas requests the court order an injunction that would prohibit AFP from sending any further unsolicited text messages. Bumpas also requested statutory damages via the TCPA for himself and the members of the putative class. The proposed class includes anyone AFP sent a text message to within the United States between Feb. 18, 2015, and Feb. 18, 2019.

Bumpas demands a trial by jury. He is represented by Noah K. Wood and Ari N. Rodopoulos of Wood Law Firm in Kansas City, Missouri.

Americans for Prosperity did not respond to Legal Newsline's request for comment.

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Americans for Prosperity U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri

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