Former GOP leader convicted of phone jamming

Yesterday James Tobin, who was President Bush’s New England campaign chief for a brief time last year, was convicted of jamming Democratic campaign phone lines on Election day, 2002.

I’ve covered this before, but a quick recap:

In 2002, then-Congressman John H. Sununu (R) was running against Governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) for Bob Smith’s US Senate seat — Sununu had beaten Smith in the contested primary. On the day of the election, Tobin got his hands on the numbers for the Democratic phone bank — set aside for get-out-the-vote work, such as reminding people to work and offering them rides to polling places — and had a telemarketing firm call those numbers all day, tying up the lines. Sununu ended up winning, 51-45%.

Clever idea — if you overlook that it’s ILLEGAL.

Former NH GOP executive director Chuck McGee was convicted of approving the tactic, and just completed a seven-month stretch in jail. And the telemarketer, Allen Raymond, worked out a plea deal and is hoping to get less than five months.

Tobin was acquitted of the most serious charges, conspiring to violate voters’ rights, but is still looking at up to seven years and $500,000 in fines.

But the most troubling aspect so far, for me, is that the Republican National Committee forked over $720,000 for Tobin’s defense. They initially refused to say why they spent so much money on a former employee accused of a serious political crime, but now say that they did so because he assured them of his innocence.

A lot of Wizbang readers are Republicans, and a good chunk of those are contributors, I’d bet. I know a lot of you have said that you won’t donate any more until the party starts being a bit more responsible on issues such as federal spending and illegal immigration. Might I suggest you add this matter to your list of questions to the fundraisers?

Boobs and boars
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