Below I posted the statement RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman released this evening on the latest news about the 2002 New Hampshire phone jamming scandal. Mehlman was White House political director in 2002. And in his statement he says that "none of my conversations nor the conversations of my staff, involved discussion of the phone-jamming incident."
I'm quite happy to believe that. Heck, it may even be true.
But Mehlman knows, and I hope those in DC won't forget, that he's dodging the real question. Is he ready to issue such blanket denials on behalf of the Republican National Committee, the organization he now runs. And how about the NRSC?
Let me fill in some of the details here before we proceed.
In 2002, the recently convicted James Tobin worked in a dual capacity for both the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the organization in charge of electing Republican senators. Principally, though, he worked for the latter group, which happened to be chaired that year by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN). Now there is ample evidence connecting Tobin's bad acts up the chain at both committees -- a fact hinted at in the government's witness list in the Tobin trial.
You get another hint of this in the fact that the RNC has to date spent almost $3 million on Tobin's legal defense. -- despite the fact that Tobin's defense didn't deny his involvement in the phone-jamming case.
So let's have it.
Will Ken Mehlman make a similarly categorical statement about the involvement of the Republican National Committee? And will he address his organization's continuing bankrolling of Tobin's defense -- given that Tobin doesn't actually deny his role in the scheme? If he wants to toss in a blanket denial on behalf of the NRSC, great. But I'll settle for one and two.
DC Republicans have been covering up their role in this caper for years -- abetted, admittedly by the national political press's almost total lack of interest in the case. Now Mehlman seems to think the standard refusals to address the question won't wash any more. So here's a chance for reporters to ask some key questions.