Ex-GOP Official Indicted For 'Phone-Jamming'
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, 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.
By Derek Kravitz |
October 15, 2008; 2:01 PM ET
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