A Nazi sympathizer and former Idaho resident faces a $9.9 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission after he plagued various parts of the country with racist, anti-Semitic and threatening robocalls. Scott D. Rhodes, 51, who moved to Libby, Montana, from Sandpoint, in North Idaho, in late 2018, spent much of that year recording vitriolic messages that rang tens of thousands of phones in at least eight states. In addition to attacking Black and Jewish politicians, Rhodes’ messages threatened a journalist in Sandpoint, targeted an Iowa community grieving the murder of a local college student, and attempted to influence the jury in a murder case against a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia. In announcing the fine on Jan. 14, the FCC said Rhodes repeatedly violated the Truth in Caller ID Act by manipulating the calls to make them appear as if they came from local phone numbers, a process known as “neighbor spoofing.” Ajit Pai, who stepped down as the FCC’s chairman last week, said the law clearly prohibits spoofed robocalls “used with the intent to defraud, cause harm or cheat recipients,” and Rhodes’ calls marked “new levels of egregiousness.” The FCC proposed fining Rhodes $12.9 million in January 2020, but the amount was lowered after Rhodes submitted evidence that he legally owned one of the phone numbers used in his abusive campaign. The commission rejected all of his other arguments, including vague suggestions that someone else could have sent the robocalls. In his response to the commission’s findings, he complained of “politically motivated gross overreach of FCC authority” as well as “corruption” by “minority in-groups.” Rhodes was given 30 days to pay the fine. If he doesn’t, the FCC said it could refer the case to the Department of Justice.

via idahostatesman: FCC slaps ex-Idaho Nazi sympathizer with nearly $10 million fine for racist robocalls