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Political calls can't be blocked by federal law

Is there a way that all political-related phone calls from local, state or federal agencies and parties can be legally blocked and/or set up so they must comply with the federal Do Not Call list?

— Gary S., Medford

Sorry, but we can't make your day, Gary. Solicitation calls that are political in nature are not covered by the national Do Not Call Registry.

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the program, specifically allows them: "Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities and telephone surveyors would still be permitted, as would calls from companies with which you have an existing business relationship, or those to whom you've provided express agreement in writing to receive their calls."

The commission does note, however, that if you ask a company with which you have an existing business relationship to place your number on its own do-not-call list, it must honor your request.

While charities are not covered by the Do Not Call rules, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, you can ask to not receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that specific charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000.

The FTC says political solicitations are not covered by the rules because they don't meet its definition of "telemarketing."

In other words, when someone calls to sell you a product, it's called telemarketing. When someone calls to get your support for a candidate, it's called solicitation.

Ya think members of Congress might have anything to do with those definitions?

The best solution for you, Gary, is to hang up immediately.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.