Central Coast conservative activist Kevin P. Rice claimed responsibility for an election-related robocall earlier this week that asserted to be associated with the Klu Klux Klan. The recorded phone call targeted voters in supervisorial District 3 on February 25.
The caller made homophobic and vulgar comments about candidate Stacy Korsgaden, and urged people to vote for incumbent Adam Hill.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday afternoon Rice had contacted that office and said he had acted independently of both campaigns.
When a return call was made Friday to the phone number of the initial robocall, a recorded message expanded on Rice’s motivations.
“Hi, I'm the robot, but this is not a robocall. You're calling me. My name is Pascal. My human, who you heard from in the phone call the other day, is not affiliated with the KKK, but her grandfather was,” said a recorded message Friday at the number of the initial robocall. “Like my fellow mechanical friend, the Shredder, I sometimes use satire and sarcasm to help humans talk about uncomfortable topics.”
The message continues on to disparage Hill.
Hill denounced the call and Rice’s tactics, saying this was the third campaign Rice had used “ugly and dishonest smears” against the supervisor. Hill also condemned negative Korsgaden campaign ads and mailers against him.
The district attorney’s office said the investigation into the robocall continues to determine if Rice committed any crimes with the robocall. In a statement, DA Dan Dow said violating the state's Political Reform Act of 1974 is a misdemeanor.
“The Political Reform Act covers a wide variety of conduct,” said DA office spokesman Eric Dobroth in an email Friday. “We are not focused just on the Political Reform Act, but on other areas of law that may cover these communications more broadly. We are not fixed or focused on a particular statute at this point. Now that we have a more firm grasp of the circumstances, in the coming days we will review the law in light of that evidence.”
Rice has long been vocal in San Luis Obispo political life, but the DA’s office identified him as a Kern County resident. Rice did not respond to KCBX requests for comment, but he did speak to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Editor's note: Rice telephoned the KCBX Newsroom on Monday afternoon, March 2, responding to our request for comment. He declined to further elaborate on the robocall, but maintains he does not believe he committed any crimes by creating and paying for the call.