On the morning of election day 2002, repeated hang-up calls assaulted six phone lines tied to the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Three Republican operatives, including consultant Allen Raymond, eventually ended up in jail for their involvement in the phone jamming scheme. A fourth, former RNC offical James Tobin, will begin a second trial in February.
In his new book, Raymond alleges that the scandal goes “to the top of the Republican Party” because “the Bush White House had complete control of the RNC” and there was no way such a risky tactic wouldn’t have been “vetted by” Tobin’s “high-ups”:
“The Bush White House had complete control of the RNC, and there was no way someone like Tobin was going to try what he was proposing without first getting it vetted by his high-ups,” Raymond wrote in How To Rig an Election, a book set for publication next month. “That’s if Tobin, rather than one of his bosses, had even thought of the ploy himself – which seemed unlikely.”
Phone records obtained in a civil suit brought against the NH GOP by the NH Democratic Party show that “Tobin made 22 calls to the White House political office in the 24 hours before and after the jamming” while the Republican National Committee has paid over $6 million in legal fees for Tobin.
Yesterday, McClatchy reported that “senior Justice Department officials” delayed prosecuting Tobin “until after the 2004 election” as part of an effort to protect the GOP “from the scandal until the voting was over“:
However, the official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told McClatchy that senior Justice Department officials slowed the inquiry. The official didn’t know whether top department officials ordered the delays or what motivated those decisions.
The official said that Terry O’Donnell, a former Pentagon general counsel who was representing Tobin, was in contact with senior department officials before Tobin was indicted.
Marcy Wheeler notes that Tobin’s lawyer, Terry O’Donnell, is also “Dick Cheney’s long-time personal attorney.”
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey today, requesting documents and answers about the case.
Paul Kiel has more here.