The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) kept up pressure in a campaign to combat so-called robocalls, fining a domestic lobby group, its founder and one individual more than $5 million for breaches in 2020.

JM Burkman and Associates, founder John Burkman and Jacob Alexander Wohl were targeted by the US regulator for making 1,142 automated calls over a period of close to three weeks in August and September 2020.

The FCC reached a unanimous decision to issue the fine, rejecting claims by Burkman and Wohl in 2021 that responsibility for the politically-motivated calls lay with companies they hired to conduct their campaign after finding they had directed “specific details” of the programmes.

FCC enforcement chief Loyaan Egal explained the sizeable penalty “emphasises the seriousness with which we take our obligations to protect” consumers “from being targeted through the clear and illegal misuse of US communications networks”.

The regulator has had robocalls in its sights for several years, enacting various rules requiring operators to clamp down on what appears to remain a significant problem in the nation.