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Settlement Reached in Case of Voter Suppression Robocalls
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In a significant development, conservative operatives Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have agreed to pay $1.25 million in a settlement following their involvement in a robocall campaign aimed at dissuading Black New Yorkers from voting by mail during the 2020 U.S. election. New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced the settlement on Tuesday, marking a consequential resolution to the legal battle.

Legal Liability and Consequences

The settlement comes after a federal judge in New York found Wohl and Burkman liable in March 2023 for orchestrating a targeted campaign against Black voters. These efforts involved disseminating false and threatening messages designed to discourage voter participation, a tactic condemned as voter suppression.

Attorney General Letitia James denounced the campaign, stating, “Wohl and Burkman orchestrated a depraved and disinformation-ridden campaign to intimidate Black voters in an attempt to sway the election in favor of their preferred candidate.” The impact of their actions extended beyond mere intimidation, as the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, had to allocate substantial resources to counter the misinformation spread by the robocalls.


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Deceptive Campaign Tactics

During the summer of 2020, the robocalls falsely claimed that voting by mail would subject the voter to tracking for outstanding warrants, credit card debt, and mandatory vaccines. Such deceptive tactics aimed to deter eligible voters from exercising their rights, reflecting a broader pattern of voter suppression efforts.

Political Context and Fallout

The 2020 presidential campaign witnessed a proliferation of baseless claims regarding mail-in voting, perpetuated by Republican President Donald Trump and his allies. Despite losing the election to Democrat Joe Biden, Trump continued to propagate falsehoods about mail-in ballots, contributing to a climate of distrust in the electoral process.

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Nationwide Impact

The impact of the robocall campaign extended beyond New York, as similar calls were reported in various cities including Cleveland, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Detroit, and Arlington, Virginia. This underscores the widespread nature of voter suppression tactics employed during the 2020 election cycle.

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Legal Ramifications and Personal Consequences

In addition to the settlement in New York, Wohl and Burkman faced legal repercussions elsewhere. They pleaded guilty to telecommunications fraud in Ohio in October 2022 for similar activities during the 2020 presidential election, resulting in probation, fines, and community service. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also fined them $5.1 million in June 2023 for unlawful robocalls.

Burkman, a prominent Washington lawyer and Republican operative, faced further consequences as he was stripped of his law license by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in March. His involvement in controversial issues, such as the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, has garnered attention and criticism, highlighting the broader societal implications of misinformation and disinformation campaigns.


The settlement in the case of voter suppression robocalls represents a critical step in holding individuals accountable for undermining the democratic process. It underscores the importance of safeguarding voting rights and combating disinformation to ensure free and fair elections for all citizens. As the nation grapples with ongoing challenges to electoral integrity, the resolution of this case serves as a reminder of the ongoing work needed to protect the fundamental right to vote.

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