Some behind the scenes numbers about Elections Canada’s impotent investigation into illegal robocalls…
[note Prime Contact, which came up in the blogosphere earlier this week.]
81. At the national level, the Conservative Party, using data from its Constituent Information Management System (CIMS) database, called through two primary telemarketing companies: Responsive Marketing Group (RMG) for live calls, and RackNine for automated calls. Individual candidate campaigns used a variety of telemarketers. For its part, the Liberal Party used its Liberalist database and called electors through two telemarketing companies, Prime Contact and First Contact, while individual candidate campaigns used several telemarketers …
83. They were unable to establish the content of that call or determine that the call received was the one about which the elector submitted a complaint. As a result, in many cases, it was simply not possible to gather any information confirming the allegation made by a given complainant that he or she had received an inappropriate call.
So, because there was no recording of the crime, investigators and Elections Canada overlooked the testimony of witnesses from whom they were able to obtain evidence of phone calls made to those multiple people with the same complaint?!
85. A number of the telemarketers providing the bulk of call services for the Conservative Party or Conservative Party candidates were contacted by investigators. Most agreed to co-operate. Investigators were told that no telemarketer had independent access to the Conservative Party’s CIMS database, and that each relied on selected CIMS elector data provided to them by the party or by local campaigns for calling purposes. Two telemarketers, RackNine and RMG, retained recordings of their calls. Only one telemarketer, RMG, advised electors of their poll locations.
86. Campaign Research provided call services to 39 local Conservative Party campaigns and called 89 complainant numbers during the election. The company does not retain recordings of calls made. Campaign Research provided investigators with a list of call display numbers used. One matched a call display number reported by a complainant, but as no call recording was available, investigators were unable to determine the call content. Investigators were advised that Campaign Research callers worked from a script, a sample of which was provided. The text of the script raised no concerns relevant to the investigation. Investigators were told that callers did not have access to, or provide electors with, poll location information.
Front Porch Strategies
87. Front Porch Strategies is an American telemarketer with a Canadian operation. Investigators learned that Front Porch Strategies provided services to 10 Conservative Party campaigns for telephone town hall meetings, and did not provide poll location information to electors. The company provided their call display numbers, none of which could be linked to the impugned calls.
88. RackNine sent recorded messages on behalf of the Conservative Party and a number of its local campaigns during the 41st general election. In all, 405 complainant numbers were matched to RackNine-generated calls under the supervision of an independent expert third party. The role of the expert third party with RackNine, and with other telemarketers, was established by investigators to ensure that database matching and data extraction, where necessary, were done in a way that ensured the integrity of the process and the resulting data collection, and protected privacy interests. The RackNine calls to complainants were linked to 92 separate recorded messages. Upon listening to each of these messages, investigators discovered that 87 messages related to the 41st general election, while the remainder related to other political events or entities. The messages were solicitations of support or announcements of upcoming events; none were problematic and none provided poll location information. Footnote 16
Responsive Marketing Group
Responsive Marketing Group Calls and Communication of Poll Locations
89. RMG provided live calling services to the Conservative Party national campaign and 80 local campaigns, using CIMS calling data provided by the party or by local candidates. RMG was the only telemarketing service in the 2011 general election that made and retained recordings of live calls.
Instead of prosecuting the crimes they could confirm …
118. Investigators have not been able to confirm many instances of nuisance calls. Some have been confirmed to a certain extent, but none of these situations provided investigators with evidence of intent to commit an offence under the Act.
they dismissed them because their investigation made incorrect assumptions about the actus reus of the crime!
Had a false or untraceable incoming number been used in an effort to purposely misdirect electors, investigators again would have expected to see a pattern with multiple calls into a single electoral district from the same number, as occurred in Guelph. No such pattern was found.
Elsewhere in the document Elections Canada admits that VOIP robocall systems could easily use different or faked source numbers.
Why would they assume the fraud conducted throughout Canada would be just like Guelph, when Guelph clearly differed in execution from most of the other reported illegal calls?