Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Bush New England campaign head indicted for 2002 phone-jamming scam

Say this for the Democratic Party: the get out the vote operation is about getting the vote out. Not keeping the other side's voters in.

James Tobin, formerly the Republican National Committee's regional director and then the top Bush campaign official for New England -- yes, yes, but don't forget that Maine and New Hampshire were both swing state battlegrounds -- has been indicted on charges of orchestrating a low-tech version of a denial-of-service attack, setting up technology to block Democratic campaign telephones from reaching voters during the November 2002 -- that's 2002 -- election. Here's the AP's take on the story.

Internet DoS attacks overload a Web site's servers and cause them to be inaccessible. A simialr attack can be made on the phone networks, as Tobin is now accused of doing with five Democratic Party offices during Election Day, November 2002.

The four-count indictment says Tobin targeted the Manchester, NH, Professional Firefighters Association's phones in an attempt to interfere with its GOTV effort. Remember that 2002 saw one of the most tightly contested Senate races in the country, as Little Sununu beat Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

Tobin had resigned in October as Bush's 2004 New England campaign chairman, after allegations that he was involved in this classy business became public.

The indictment claims that Tobin and Chuck McGee, former executive director of the NH Republican Party, wrote a check for $15,600 to a Virginia company called GOP Marketplace, owned by GOP consultant Allen Raymond. GOP Marketplace allegedly hired a subcontractor to tie up the phones on Election Day by making hundreds of nuisance phone calls.

More than 800 hang-up calls tied up phones for about 1 1/2 hours.

NH State Democratic chairwoman Kathy Sullivan noted that she thought it was "unfortunate the Justice Department delayed, for whatever reasons that it did, until after the election... I hope this was not delayed for political reasons. Here we are, four weeks after the election, and President Bush's former New England campaign chairman is indicted.''

In 2002 Tobin was northeast political director for the Republican Senatorial Committee, the party operation working to elect Republicans to the Senate.