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Ex-GOP Official Indicted For 'Phone-Jamming'

POSTED: 02:01 PM ET, 10/15/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Nearly six years after being implicated in a political dirty tricks scheme, a former Republican Party operative has been indicted again, this time for allegedly lying to federal authorities.


James Tobin, former GOP political operative. (AP)

James Tobin, the former New England regional director for the Republican National Committee, has been charged with making false statements to FBI officials in connection with a scheme to arrange more than 800 hang-up calls that jammed get-out-the-vote phone lines set up by the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters union on Election Day 2002. (Somewhat ironically, Tobin's arraignment is scheduled for Election Day this year.)

Republican John E. Sununu narrowly defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the Senate race that day.

Tobin, then 44, resigned his post and was charged with conspiracy to commit telephone harassment and aiding and abetting. The national Republican Party paid millions in legal bills to defend Tobin.

Phone records introduced into criminal court showed that Tobin made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day. Nearly all the calls to the White House went to the same number -- the political affairs office, then led by Ken Mehlman, now chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The White House declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002 and said it was "preposterous" to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.

Tobin was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 10 months in prison. Two other GOP officials -- former New Hampshire Republican Party director Charles McGee and party consultant Allen Raymond -- were convicted of violating federal communications law. (Raymond later wrote a book about his experiences, titled "How to Rig an Election.")

But a federal appeals court in Boston overturned Tobin's conviction in March 2007, saying the law which Tobin was convicted of violating was "not a close fit" for what he had done.

A copy of the federal government's indictment of James Tobin
Download This Document | More Investigations Documents

By Derek Kravitz |  October 15, 2008; 2:01 PM ET
Previous: Federal Bailout, ACORN Controversy, White House OK'd CIA Tactics | Next: Cheney Surgery Could Revive Health Issue

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Does anyone else find it a little peculiar that this indictment was handed down lss than a month before the elections, when Sununu is up for reelection again and NH is a swing state? After all, looking at the indictment they have had thi inormation for years, ever since the FBI interview in 2003. This seems very much politically motivated to me?

Also sort of a last ditch effort. Mr. Tobin was on the verge of having his acquittal upheld next month, and the govenment about to lose their case against him once and for all. Notice the prosecutors bringing this charge are the same one's who brought the previous charges (and lost). Furthermore, the limitations on the acts ran out this week. It was now or never for them. I can't help but think it would have been brought even closer to the election if they had been able to do so.

Posted by: Kyle Cyr | October 15, 2008 5:49 PM

I agree with Mr. Cyr- Something seems fishy about the timing of these allegations. In a highly politicized time, weeks before the election and before Tobin’s appeal hearing, these seems like a final trust to find something Tobin did wrong. Unfortunately for these legal desperados, Tobin didn’t do anything illegal. He has already been acquitted of the first torrent of indictments they flung at him. He will beat them again because, in America, truth overcomes allegations.

Posted by: Samatha Collins | October 16, 2008 9:00 AM

Did it ever occur to either of you that interfering with voting rights is just as criminal as The Watergate Robbery and other Republican crimes of this regime. I suppose you also believe that 30,000 WMD still actually exist in the Iraqi desert. I suppose you think it was worth 4200 AMerican lives to Geo Bush to get his little war.

You people are incredibly numbed by your own BS. It's amazing you don't pass out from the stench of your corruption.

Posted by: stephen | October 16, 2008 12:36 PM

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