In 2002, there was a hard-fought Senate race between Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, the Democrat, and John Sununu, the Republican. On Election Day, Democratic workers arrived at five get-out-the-vote offices to find their phone lines jammed. It turned out that the jamming was being done by an Idaho telemarketing firm that was being paid by a Virginia consulting group. The fee for the jamming, reportedly $15,600, was paid by New Hampshire Republicans.
The executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party and the president of the Virginia consulting group pleaded guilty for their part in the scheme. James Tobin, who was the New England political director for the Republican National Committee, went to trial and was convicted of telephone harassment last December.
Now, Jack Abramoff and his Indian tribe clients have joined the cast of characters, and some records of phone calls to the White House have turned up, though the significance of both of these revelations is hotly disputed. The evidence that the phone-jamming scandal goes higher than Mr. Tobin remains scant. But the watchdogs are right about this: the news media, prosecutors and the general public should demand more information about what happened.
Cohen then draws some pretty stark parallels between this case and Watergate. I've been out of the loop the last few weeks as the book tour consumes my time, so I missed the fact that Abramoff and DeLay essentially paid for these dirty tricks.
And of course, there are the dozens of calls made by Tobin to Ken Mehlman's office at the White House.
As this all shakes out in a web of lawsuits and (hopefully) investigate journalism, we should all give a quick "kudos" to the New Hampshire Democratic Party, which has worked tirelessly and aggressively to get to the bottom of this scandal and keep it from fading away.