2002 Election NH "Phone Jamming" Case
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The 2002 Election NH "phone jamming" case revolves around the hiring by the New Hampshire Republican Party of the Virginia-based telemarketing firm GOP Marketplace. Republican operative Allen Raymond, who was president of the firm at the time, then "subcontracted the deed" to Mylo Enterprises Inc., a Pocatello, Idaho, phone bank shop. 
Prosecutors allege that 'GOP Marketplace' "was paid to make repeated hang-up phone calls to overwhelm the phone banks in New Hampshire and prevent them from getting Democratic voters to the polls" on Election Day, November 5, 2002. Six phone lines that were being run by Democratic "coordinated campaign offices," as well as phones in the offices of the Manchester firefighters union -- which was also doing a get-out-the-vote campaign that morning -- were jammed by 800 computer-generated hang up calls that tied up the lines for 1 1/2 hours. 
Voters' rights were violated as the "computer-generated calls went to lines set up for voters who needed rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont." The calls were "stopped after then-Republican State Committee Chairman John Dowd ordered a halt because of concerns about their legality." 
Status of the Case
As of April 14, 2006: 
- The Washington, DC-based Democratic activist group Senate Majority Project recently "uncovered 22 calls from New Hampshire officials to the White House political office on Nov. 5-6, 2002. During the same time, according to prosecutors, state GOP officials started -- and then frantically sought to stop -- a plan to have a telemarketer bombard the phone banks of Democrats and a local firefighters association that was offering voters rides to the polls."
- Kenneth B. Mehlman, "former director of the White House political office and current chairman of the Republican National Committee is fighting Democratic efforts to force him to testify under oath in a civil suit about the New Hampshire scandal. Mehlman said the calls from James Tobin ... were for the White House to get the latest information about a close race, which would be unexceptional on election night. He said none of the calls to him or his staff involved the phone-jamming operation."
- "the RNC has paid more than $2.5 million in legal fees incurred by Tobin"
- "Kathy Sullivan, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said she is unwilling to accept Mehlman's assurances. She cited a sequence of events as the phone-jamming case unfolded starting in February 2003, in which Republican officials repeatedly changed their version of events as new evidence emerged."
As of March 10, 2005:
- Charles McGee pleaded guilty in federal court "to conspiring to make anonymous calls to annoy or harass. He also was fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. He faced up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. ... McGee resigned in 2003 after police alerted federal prosecutors to the phone-jamming operation. He denied any wrongdoing at the time. He later admitted paying $15,600 to a Virginia telemarketing company that hired another business to call get-out-the-vote phone banks around the state."  (In 2006, McGee resurfaced to lead a GOP candidate workshop in New Hampshire.  In 2008, McGee surfaced once more in New Hampshire politics when his firm, Spectrum Marketing Companies, received more than $90,000 from Jeb Bradley's ultimately unsuccessful challenge to Carol Shea-Porter [D, NH-1] for her seat in Congress. )
- "James Tobin, the former Northeast political director of the national party committee working to elect Republican senators, also is charged in the case. Prosecutors say he orchestrated the jamming. Tobin has pleaded innocent." 
- "Allen Raymond, who was president of the Alexandria, Va.-based GOP Marketplace LLC at the time, pleaded guilty to hiring a firm from Idaho to make the calls. He was sentenced earlier this year to five months in prison." 
As of October 10, 2005, "James Tobin, who then worked as the Northeast political director for Bill Frist's National Republican Senatorial Committee and the RNC, is now awaiting trial for his role in the scheme." 
On December 15, 2005, James Tobin was convicted on telephone harassment charges "for his part in a plot to jam the Democrats' phones on Election Day 2002." Tobin was acquitted by the federal jury on "the most serious charge against him, of conspiring to violate voters' rights." Tobin will be sentenced March 2006 and "could get up seven years in prison and $500,000 in fines." 
Sununu vs Shaheen
To refresh his memory in February 2003, Josh Marshall "went back and looked up the point spread on Senator John Sununu's close-call victory over out-going Governor Jeanne Shaheen. He won with 51% to her 47% with a Libertarian candidate picking up the other 2%. Honestly, that's too big a spread to overcome with solid phone banking, especially because this effort seemed to get cut short after a couple hours when Verizon intervened."  "But cheating isn't okay just because you probably would have won anyway. What's more, was the New Hampshire GOP really the only state party getting these services from 'GOP Marketplace'? This sounds like an 'innovation' that a go-getter firm like 'GOP Marketplace' would want to peddle all over the place. There were a lot of close races last November. Did this happen anywhere else? Who else got help from 'GOP Marketplace'?," Marshall asked.
In his research, Marshall noted "two entries in the New Hampshire GOP's receipts ledger in the days just before the phone-jamming plan came off. $5000 a pop from two of Jack Abramoff's main piggy banks": Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Palm Springs, CA, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Choctaw, MS, on October 28, 2002.
There was another $5,000 contribution in the ledger dated November 1, 2002, by the Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee, also known as ARMPAC, former House Majority Leader Thomas D. DeLay's leadership committee.
According to Federal Election Commission records, ARMPAC contributed another $5,000 to the NHRP on October 4, 2002, and FEC records also show John E. Sununu receiving another $5,000 from ARMPAC via "Team Sununu" in 2002.
- "What you have here is the sound of two scandals colliding," New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said in October 2005.
The ledger also showed:
- The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) contributed four checks totalling $155,814.68 between October 17 and October 31, 2002.
- The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NCSC) contributed ten checks totalling over $595,000.00 between October 17 and November 1, 2002.
Democratic party lawsuit
The New Hampshire Republican State Committee, Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee settled a lawsuit brought against them by the Democratic party on December 2, 2006. They paid a $135,000 settlement. Democrats had originally sued for more than $4 million in damaged for the cost of the seven months of operation of the get out the vote operation. The Republicans had argued that they only had to pay $4,000 for the cost of the phones. The NHRSC will pay $125,000 over five years and the RNC and NRSCC will each pay $5,000. 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's Letter In Response To Voter Fraud Report By The American Center For Voting Rights, August 9, 2005.
- Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo archived articles on GOP Marketplace: February 7, 2003; February 11, 2003; October 11, 2004; May 20, 2005; June 18, 2005; October 10, 2005; October 13, 2005.
Articles & Commentary
- John DiStaso, "Federal officials alerted by police to alleged GOP phone jamming," New Hampshire Union-Leader, February 7, 2003: "Manchester police have alerted the U.S. Justice Department to an Election Day operation allegedly ordered by a Republican telemarketing dealer that jammed get-out-the-vote phone banks operated by the city’s firefighters union and the state Democratic Party."
- Steve Kornacki, "Consultant with N.J. ties implicated as New Hampshire campaign trickster," Politics NJ.com, February 10, 2003.
- Josh Marshall, "Are these GOP leaders aware of their dirty tricks?" The Hill, February 19, 2003.
- Meg Heckman, "Telemarketer admits jamming lines. Republican blocked phone calls on Election Day," Concord Monitor, July 1, 2004.
- John DiSaso, "Telemarketer told which numbers to jam," Manchester Union-Leader, July 2, 2004: "A Republican State Committee employee told a telemarketer what telephone numbers to jam to stop Democratic and firefighters’ 'get-out-the-vote' efforts on Election Day 2002, according to a federal prosecutor."
- Meg Heckman, "Democrats sue GOP over 2002 phone jamming. Party wants Republicans to pay damages, apologize," Concord Monitor, July 14, 2004.
- "Idaho company caught in N.H.," Associated Press (Portsmouth Herald), July 16, 2004.
- Jeannie Shawl, "Former New Hampshire GOP director pleads guilty to phone jamming charges," Jurist, July 28, 2004.
- "Those who sabotage voters must be held accountable," Portsmouth Herald/Seacoast Online, October 16, 2004.
- Kevin Landrigan, "Phone scandal may have Bush connection," Nashua Telegraph, October 17, 2004.
- Bob Smith, "Phone-jamming was an outrage. Republicans should speak out in anger," Concord Monitor, October 19, 2004.
- Sarah Schweitzer, "Parties call foul over N.H. phone-jamming suit. 2002 case fueling preelection turmoil," Boston Globe, October 23, 2004.
- "N.H. Republicans' election tricks hurt party's image," Keene Equinox (NH), September 30, 2004.
- "The phone jamming cover up: Washington interference in NH justice," Democracy for New Hampshire, October 26, 2004.
- Erik Stetson, "Phone-jamming case back in court," Associated Press (Portsmouth Herald/Seacoast Online), October 29, 2004.
- Erik Stetson, "Phone-jam case likely on hold until after election," Associated Press (Portsmouth Herald/Seacoast Online), October 30, 2004.
- Katharine Webster, "Former Bush campaign official indicted for phone-jamming," Associated Press (Foster's Online), December 13, 2004.
- Gail P, "Republican Phone Jammers Finally Facing CRIMINAL CHARGES!" Wilton Democrats, December 14, 2004.
- "GOP Consultant Sentenced in Phone Jamming," Associated Press (WJLA ABC News 7), February 8, 2005.
- Jeannie Shawl, "Republican consultant sentenced in NH phone jamming plot," Jurist, February 9, 2005.
- Erik Stetson, "Former GOP party head sentenced to seven months in phone jamming," Associated Press (Boston Globe), March 10, 2005.
- Josh Rogers, "Chuck McGee Gets Prison For Phone Jamming," New Hampshire Public Radio, March 11, 2005.
- "Fourth man indicted in Republican phone-jamming scheme," Boston Globe, April 4, 2005.
- "Two degrees of separation: Tobin to Frist to Rove," Tough Enough, May 21, 2005.
- Kathleen Sullivan, "What Is the RNC Hiding?" TPM Cafe, August 11, 2005.
- ntobi, "Dems ask Henderson to step down as NH Republican Chair," Democracy for New Hampshire, August 11, 2005.
- John Solomon, "GOP Paying Legal Bills of Bush Official," SF Gate, August 11, 2005.
- "Phone-jamming jury to reconvene," Associated Press (Portsmouth Herald/Seacoast Online), August 26, 2005.
- Matt Singer, "Racicot's Plumbers," Left in the West, October 10, 2005. re Marc F. Racicot
- Holly Ramer, "Democrats question timing of 2002 GOP donations," Associated Press (Concord Monitor), October 13, 2005.
- Anne Saunders, "GOP Official Convicted in Phone-Jamming," Associated Press (Around Philly), December 15, 2005.
- Thomas B. Edsall and David A Fahrenthold, "2002 N.H. Scandal Shadows GOP Anew," Washington Post, April 14, 2006.
- Larry Margasak, "Miss. Governor Helped Implicated Firm," Associated Press (ABC News), April 28, 2006. re Haley Barbour
- Paul Kiel, "Barbour Had Controlling Interest in Phone Jamming Firm," TPM Muckraker, May 3, 2006.
- "Liberal group files Abramoff complaint in New Hampshire," The Raw Story, May 4, 2006.
- Hilary Sargent, "Phone Jammer to Argue DC Officials Approved," Senate Majority Project, July 7, 2006.
- "N.H. Republicans settle phone-jamming lawsuit," San Diego Union Tribune (Associated Press), December 2, 2006.
- Paul Kiel, "NH Rep Pushes for Phone Jamming Investigation," TPMmuckraker, September 6, 2007.