We are all being barraged by unwanted robocalls. Many of them this time of year are calls about the election, but many others are commercial calls. You know the ones.
“The FBI has noticed an increase in burglaries in your neighborhood!”
“This is an important message about your credit card.” (It really isn’t your credit card company; that’s why they don’t say which card.)
You can probably come up with others; they’ll probably call you today!
We can’t do anything about the political robocalls, because political expression is the very heart of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. But Missouri and most other states have laws that restrict commercial calls, whether in-person or robocalls. You can place yourself on a “no call” list. Companies are prohibited from calling numbers on the no-call list.
But annoying commercial calls are up in Missouri. The robocall industry knows that they have nothing to w0rry about, because Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster isn’t enforcing the law. Many aren’t even bothering to ask for the list of numbers to avoid calling: requests for the list are down from previous years.
Maybe Koster doesn’t know he’s supposed to do that. His reelection ads suggest that the only part of the job he cares about is prosecuting criminals. He disparages Republican challenger Ed Martin for never having put a single criminal behind bars, which was also true of most of Koster’s predecessors, including Jack Danforth, John Ashcroft and Jay Nixon. Koster might be surprised to learn that his office has other responsibilities, too, like protecting Missouri’s natural resources and agricultural productivity, administering the workers compensation second injury fund (which is going broke under Koster’s watch), enforcing the Missouri Consumer Protection Act and anti-trust laws, enforcing compliance with state laws by trusts, foundations and non-profit corporations, supervising liquidations of charities. And enforcing the no-call list law.