An Illinois man has brought a class action lawsuit against Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign committee, alleging the committee violated federal telephone consumer protection law by making “pernicious” and unsolicited robocalls to state residents' cellular phones, urging them to vote for Rauner.

Peter Garvey filed suit March 23 in Cook County Circuit Court against Citizens for Rauner Inc., alleging the organization breached the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The suit was filed on Garvey's behalf by Chicago lawyer John Sawin. The Rauner committee is chaired by Lesley Sweeney, of Chicago.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner

Rauner, a Republican, has been governor since 2015. He defeated challenger Jeanne Ives in the March 20 primary and is to face Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker in the Nov. 6 general election.

The TCPA law prohibits unsolicited, automated and prerecorded phone calls. However, Garvey alleges that is exactly what Rauner's campaign has been doing since last year, in a “misguided effort to solicit support” for Rauner's candidacy. Garvey said he received such calls on his wireless phone.

According to Garvey, a typical message from March this year stated:

            “Hi, this is Bruce Rauner. I'm callin' to ask for your vote in Tuesday's primary election.

            Illinois is worth fightin' for and with real reform together we can bring back Illinois

            and provide the future our children deserve. Please join me in the fight against Mike

            Madigan and his special interest allies. I'm askin' for your vote on Tuesday, March 20.

            Paid for by Citizens for Rauner.”

Garvey characterized such messages as a “completely unsolicited advertisement for services.” He further said he did not consent to receive such calls, as required by the TCPA.

Garvey said he believes there are “hundreds or likely thousands” of people who were recipients of such calls, and Rauner's committee should pay each person a minimum of $1,500 per call. Garvey further wants a judge to bar the committee from making any more calls.

Circuit Judge Thomas R. Allen is presiding over the case. A Democrat, Allen served as alderman in Chicago’s 38th Ward for 17 years before becoming a judge in 2010.

The first court hearing is set for July 23.

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Organizations in this Story

Cook County Circuit Court Sawin Law Firm Ltd.

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