Veteran Democratic operative admits to being behind fake Biden robocall: Report

Steve Kramer, a veteran Democratic operative, admitted to being behind the fake robocalls of President Biden that were made to New Hampshire voters last month, according to a statement given to NBC News.

“The evening of Sunday, January 20th, 2 days before the New Hampshire primary, I sent out an automated call to 5,000 most likely to vote Democrats. Using easy to use online technology, an automated version of President Joe Biden’s voice was created,” Kramer said in a statement to NBC News.

NBC News first reported Friday that Kramer allegedly hired magician Paul Carpenter to create the robocalls generated by artificial intelligence (AI) that imitated Biden’s voice ahead of the New Hampshire primary. The NBC report cited text messages, call logs and Venmo transactions.

Kramer said in the statement reported Sunday that more enforcement is necessary to prevent others from following what he did.

“With a mere $500 investment, anyone could replicate my intentional call,” Kramer said in the statement. “Immediate action is needed across all regulatory bodies and platforms.”

NBC News reported that Kramer did not say he was directed to make the robocalls by his client at the time, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who is challenging Biden in a long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination.

The presidential campaign for Phillips said Kramer served as a consultant to help the campaign collect signatures in Pennsylvania and New York. Phillips and his campaign have denounced the alleged involvement of Kramer, saying that his actions, if true, had “nothing to do with our campaign.”

“The fundamental notion of our campaign is the importance of competition, choice, and democracy,” the campaign said Friday. “We are disgusted to learn that Mr. Kramer is allegedly behind this call, and if the allegations are true, we absolutely denounce his actions.”

Phillips made similar comments, telling NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo on Friday that he did not know the consultant.

“And first of all, let me just denounce it,” Phillips said in an interview with Cuomo on his Friday show. “I don’t know the man who is the consultant that did this. I’m repulsed. I think it’s sickening. We need [artificial intelligence] regulation, now, because this is happening all around us, all the time.”

The Phillips campaign echoed the earlier response when reached for comment on the NBC report.

“Our campaign repeats its condemnation of these calls and any efforts to suppress the vote,” the campaign said in a statement.

Carpenter told NBC in an interview that he created the call but did not distribute it. Kramer told NBC in his statement that the call was created “using a script of my specific choosing.”

“I was in a situation where someone offered me some money to do something, and I did it. There was no malicious intent,” Carpenter said. “I didn’t know how it was going to be distributed.”

In the fake robocalls, Biden’s voice was heard telling voters to “save your vote” for the November election instead of the Jan. 23 primary.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said at the time of the calls that it was investigating them. The Federal Communications Commission banned the use of AI-generated voices in robocalls weeks after the Biden robocalls were made.

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