Conservative activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have each pleaded guilty to one count of telecommunications fraud after authorities in Ohio accused them of running a voter suppression campaign in 2020 that relied on thousands of illegal robocalls that targeted multiple states with election misinformation.
The alleged scheme, which occurred during the 2020 US election cycle, falsely told recipients that voting by mail could lead to their information being used to carry out forced vaccinations, debt collection or other consequences.
The campaign prompted the Federal Communications Commission to seek a $5 million fine against the two men, a record-breaking figure at the time, while states such as New York and Michigan have pursued their own charges against them.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, a Democrat, told CNN in a statement Tuesday that Wohl and Burkman had “infringed upon the right to vote, which is one of the most fundamental components of our democracy.”
“By pleading guilty, they were held accountable for their un-American actions,” O’Malley added.
In a statement, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost – a Republican who has been at the forefront of a nationwide crackdown on illegal robocalls – said his office had worked with O’Malley’s team in the effort to hold Wohl and Burkman accountable.
“Voter intimidation won’t be tolerated in Ohio,” Yost tweeted. “My Robocall Enforcement Unit, along with BCI, assisted in the investigation and was able to partner with Prosecutor O’Malley to shut down these two people who were trying to commit voter intimidation.”