Monday, April 24, 2006

Republican Dirty Tricks? Demand proof.

It was just a week before Christmas when I asked the question, Do Republicans want fair elections? The question was provoked by The New York Times, which has a little column called National Roundup where they publish odds and ends from around the country. On December 16th it had a little blurb, about 6 paragraphs into the column from the New England region. It reported that the Republicans had been found to have engaged in a scheme to stifle Democratic efforts to get out the vote in the New Hampshire Senatorial elections. A fellow named James Tobin had pled guilty.

Digging deeper, I found that the Concord (NH) Monitor had reported: “Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was the New England political director for the Republican National Committee and the Northeast field representative for the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2002 election. He later served as New England chairman for the Bush-Cheney campaign but resigned shortly before the 2004 election, after allegations about his involvement in the phone scheme became public.”

Obviously, John McCain wasn't paying attention to this blog. How else could he explain hiring Terry Nelson as a senior advisor? Terry Nelson was supervising Tobin while he was engaged in this criminal vote-suppression conspiracy. Maybe Nelson will claim ignorance, but the U.S. attorney had him on the witness list against Tobin until Tobin pled guilty.


I know what you're thinking: Could that be the same Terry Nelson mentioned in the indictment of Tom DeLay? The answer is YES! Do you demand proof? Take a look at the sixth overt act which alleges as follows:
on or about the thirteenth day of September, 2002, in Washington, D.C., the defendant, James Walter Ellis, did tender and deliver the aforesaid check, and did cause the aforesaid check to be tendered and delivered, to Terry Nelson and the Republican National Committee.

Today, Bloomberg news reported as follows:
To Republicans, the New Hampshire phone-jamming incident is an isolated case of political dirty tricks that took place more than three years ago.

To Democrats, it’s a scandal with echoes of Watergate that may reach all the way to the White House.

Republican leaders are facing questions stemming from a criminal case involving efforts to suppress voter turnout in a U.S. Senate election in the state in 2002. Republican John Sununu won that race over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, helping Republicans retake control of the Senate.

The facts, on the surface at least, are suspicious: dozens of phone calls to the White House by a man later convicted in the case; the national Republican Party agreeing to pay more than $2.5 million in legal bills; phones jammed on Election Day, not only of Democrats but of a firefighters' group, in the first U.S. congressional elections since the Sept. 11 attacks. Democrats say that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff may even be involved.

“The calls to the White House and the relationship with White House staff are a real eye-opener and should be a cause for concern on all fronts,” said Sheila Krumholz, acting executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington- based research group. “It calls into question who the person was on the end of that telephone line.”
Curiouser and curiouser. You can read the entire story here.

I know what you're thinking: just because there were phone calls doesn't mean anyone in the White House was part of the conspiracy. We demand proof!

Well, that's exactly what Democrats are doing. Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts wrote U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on April 20 seeking information on any links Abramoff or the White House may have had to the phone-jamming scheme.

One question that will come up again and again is whether or not the Democrats also engaged in Watergate-like dirty tricks. The answer is NO! When you hear the accusation, demand proof …

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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