DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Iowa authorities have confirmed that recorded phone calls citing the slaying of an Iowa college student are being used to promote white supremacist views, but there’s apparently little the officials can do.
Lynn Hicks is a spokesman for the Iowa attorney general’s office, and he said Friday that prosecutors have no authority because there’s no apparent effort to deceive anyone for commercial purposes. He called it a “tricky First Amendment issue.”
It’s unclear how many of the robocalls have been made since they began Tuesday, two days after Mollie Tibbetts’ funeral in Brooklyn, Iowa. They reference comments her father made in defense of Hispanics when he addressed friends and family. A man officials suspected of being in this country illegally is charged with her slaying. The calls describe him as “an invader from Mexico.”
The recordings say the calls are paid for by The Road to Power, an Idaho-based neo-Nazi organization. Associated Press attempts to reach the organization were unsuccessful.