Alright now were cookin

February 11, 2003 10:09 a.m.

Alright, now we’re cookin’ with gas. Steve Kornacki of has advanced the GOP Marketplace story several yards down the field.

Kornacki’s story provides some good information on GOP Marketplace President Allen Raymond’s background in New Jersey Republican politics. The really interesting nuggets, though, are these … Kornacki got the New Jersey state Republican party to confirm that GOP Marketplace worked for them in 2001 and 2002. Even more interesting, Kornacki suggests that Raymond may have been the never-named GOP consultant at the heart of another phone-bank scandal from last year.

The details are important enough that I’m going to quote from Kornacki’s piece at length …

In his 20-count indictment of former Essex County Executive James Treffinger last year, U.S. Attorney
Christopher J. Christie alleged that Treffinger’s 2002 U.S. Senate campaign schemed to deceive South Jersey voters with misleading phone calls.

According to the indictment, Treffinger’s campaign targeted two unnamed South Jersey candidates —
presumably state Senators Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park) and John Matheussen (R-Washington Twp.) — and placed “attack ad” and “false negative” telephone calls to South Jersey voters in an attempt to smear the two.

The indictment cryptically referred to a political consultant who, it alleged, aided Treffinger in hatching and executing the plan.

The Consultant’s identity has been a matter of fierce debate and speculation. Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing), the Democratic State Chairwoman, issued a press release in the closing weeks of last falls’ campaign stating that GOP operative David Murray was the GOP consultant named in the indictment.

But a letter from Christie subsequently cleared Murray, who has unsuccessfully sought an apology from Watson Coleman.

Raymond did work for Treffinger, according to a former campaign staffer, but declined to say whether he is the consultant named in the federal indictment.

“Do you want to talk to my attorney?” asked Raymond when contacted by today.. The consultant then promised a more thorough reply later in the day, but has not yet responded.

So now we know that GOP Marketplace worked for Republican parties and/or Republican candidates in two states in 2002: New Hampshire and New Jersey.

In one of those cases (New Hampshire), where we know GOP Marketplace was directly involved, there is an on-going law enforcement investigation. In another (New Jersey), where there is good reason to suspect the firm’s involvement, there’s already been an indictment.

Tell me again why this story doesn’t have legs?

Who else did GOP Marketplace work for last year?

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