Big News ... did I say Big News?
For years -- literally years now -- we've been telling you about the Republican election-tampering scam from New Hampshire on election day 2002. This was the case in which the state Republican party hired a company to jam the phones of Democratic and union phone banks doing get out the vote work on election day in what was expected to be a tight race between now-Sen. John Sununu and then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.
Election-tampering pure and simple.
The then-executive director of the New Hampshire Republican party and a consultant involved in the scheme are now doing time for their role in the caper. And though the DOJ has done about everything it can to drag its feet on the case, as we first reported last year the kingpin in the case, NRSC northeast regional director James Tobin himself was finally indicted.
Now, Tobin was then the Northeast Regional Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, working under then-Chairman Bill Frist. (Later he became the regional chairman of Bush-Cheney 2004; he stepped down when he was indicted.)
Frist has refused ever to answer questions about what he knew about the scam. And various RNC officials going back almost three years now have disavowed any knowledge of the case at all. Had nothing to do with it, just a rogue operation, etc.
And now, finally, we have proof that all along the RNC has continued to pay Tobin's legal bills -- already totalling more than $700,000 before the man has even gone to trial.
This one is simply a no-brainer. Yes, an organization may be morally or even legally obligated to pay an employees legal bills for trouble they got in to in the course of their work. But that doesn't apply if he broke laws and was acting without authorization and in express contravention of his employers' wishes. It's true that Tobin hasn't been convicted yet. But his guilt or innocence -- in the colloquial sense of the terms -- is not at issue. His defense has centered entirely on claims that his acts didn't violate any laws or that he has immunity for various reasons.
Put simply, the fact that the RNC is paying Tobin's legal bills means either that he was acting under authorization or, frankly, that they're trying to keep him quiet. There's really no other reasonable explanation of this.
Reporters from the big news outlets have never taken this story very seriously. And they've never found the time to press Bill Frist to answer even the most basic questions about this, despite the fact that Tobin was working for Frist when this happened.
Now's the time.
If you'd like to find out more about the backstory on this, here's a list of our reporting on it going back to 2003. If you'd like to discuss, we'll be discussing it in this thread.