The FCC has granted three petitions for declaratory ruling filed by Broadnet Teleservices LLC (Broadnet), National Employment Network Association (National Employment), and RTI International (RTI). These petitions requested clarification of how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) applies to autodialed or prerecorded-or artificial-voice phone calls, including text messages, made by the government and/or government contractors acting on behalf of the government. In its petition, Broadnet argued that users of wireless phones deserve the same engagement with government policy-makers that users of landline phones experience. It also argued that the plain language of the TCPA applies the calling restrictions to “persons” and does not included government officials in its definition of “persons.”
In its ruling, the Commission clarified that the TCPA does not apply to restrict calls made by or on behalf of the federal government in the conduct of official government business, except when a call made by a federal contractor does not comply with the government’s instructions. The TCPA continues to apply to non-governmental activities including to political campaign events conducted by federal officeholders.