Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Deeper implications for NH phone jamming scandal?

You might recall this case:

When voting began Nov. 5, McGee's plan worked like a charm. For two crucial hours, an Idaho telecommunications firm tied up Democratic and union phone lines, bringing their get-out-the-vote plans to a halt. The effort helped John E. Sununu (R) win his Senate seat by 51 to 47 percent, a 19,151-vote margin.

So far, two major players have been convicted: Charles Mcgee and James Tobin. Charles Mcgee served 7 months and is out again. Tobin is out on appeal.

In an article Wise Man Adam sent, some more interesting news has arisen. When the scandal first came out, it had Dems frothing at the mouth, not merely because an illegal GOP scheme won them the election (nothing new there), but because there appeared to be a link between the case and the White House. Nothing much has happened on that front as of yet, but in this latest cse a connection might be established for the first time.

According to a recent court filing, indicted phone jammer Shaun Hansen may offer an affirmative defense at his upcoming fall trial, arguing that the phone jamming scheme which his company carried out had the seal of approval of both the Republican National Committee and the White House.

Apparently, Hansen's defense strategy is not going to focus on whether or not he jammed Democratic phone lines on Election Day in 2002. Rather, his defense strategy will be to persuade a jury that he may have been persuaded not just that the phone jamming was legal, but that he would be carrying out the scheme on behalf of the United States government.

(Far fetched? Maybe not. GOP Marketplace, the firm which brought Hansen into the phone jamming scheme, was owned in part by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. In addition, phone records show hundreds of phone calls from the NH Republican party and convicted phone jammer James Tobin to the White House Office of Political Affairs during the time the scheme was being planned, carried out, and covered up.)

Who knows if it would even lead to an investigation, but we know dirty tricks aren't out of the question for the GOP, and we know the White House has been involved in some questionable business before (NSA wire-tapping, Valerie Plame, WMD claims, etc. etc.) It'll be interesting to see if this case leads anywhere.

1 comment:

adam said...

But why New Hampshire anyway? It's four electoral votes. Even though Kerry won it, he needed to win Ohio or another big state either way!