Longtime TPM readers will remember the election day 'phone-jamming' scandal in New Hampshire in 2002. The state Republican party hired an Idaho company to knock out the phones of the Democratic get-out-the-vote operation on election day by placing hundreds of automated hang-up calls to their phone banks. The whole episode might seem to be fading back into history were it not for the fact that a motion filed Friday in US District Court in Concord claims that a key player in the felonious scheme was none other than the man who now serves as the New England Chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004.
To put this all in context, let's review what we know.
As we noted in August, two men have already entered guilty pleas in the case: Chuck McGee, former Executive Director of the State Republican party and Allen Raymond, a Republican political consultant. But earlier court filings and press reports had already made it clear that there was a third person involved.
Some details about this unnamed individual's role were revealed in open court in July by prosecutor Todd Hinnen, when he told the court ...
In late October 2002, the defendant, Allen Raymond, then the president of Virginia-based political consulting company GOP Marketplace, LLC, received a call from a former colleague who was then an official in a national political organization. The official indicated that he had been approached by an employee of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee with an idea that might give New Hampshire Republican candidates an edge over New Hampshire democratic (sic) candidates in the upcoming election. (emphasis added)
The suggestion that this accomplice was then "an official in a national political organization" caught the notice of folks who were watching the case. And later, on August 12th, TPM and the Manchester Union Leader
both reported that the person in question held a senior position in the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign.
As the Union Leader put it
, "We canât tell you who it is or whether he broke any laws, but we can tell you the person questioned by the feds has a significant role in the Bush-Cheney campaign."
But on Friday, counsel for the New Hampshire State Democratic party filed a motion in the case that sheds some new light on the identity of this mystery individual.
(On Sunday, state Democratic party Chair Kathy Sullivan
confirmed the contents of the motion excerpted below and that the motion had been filed with the court late on Friday afternoon. A .pdf version of the motion is available here
It reads, in part ...
6. The victim believes that the unnamed individual who connected the criminal endeavors of convicted defendants McGee and Raymond was a regional director of the 2002 Republican Senatorial Committee and that his efforts were directed at depriving former governor Jeanne Shaheen of victory in her race for the United States Senate. This same individual is believed to currently be directing the New England Regional Bush-Cheney campaign, and thus is in a critical position from which he can engage in further illegal activities to distort the outcome of the presidential race of 2004. (emphasis added)
Now, who is this person they're talking about?
The New England regional chairman
of the Bush-Cheney campaign is Jim Tobin
, a Republican political consultant and operative from Maine.
Tobin fits the other description contained in the motion as well: In 2002, when the phone-jamming incident happened, he was the Northeast political director
for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
There is simply no one else who fits the description in the motion.
Neither Tobin nor Bush-Cheney 2004 returned repeated calls requesting comment on the claims contained in the aforementioned motion, whether Tobin was involved in the November 2002 phone jamming episode, or whether he has been questioned by federal investigators in the probe.