CONCORD, N.H. --Democrats say three donations made to the New
Hampshire Republican Party just before Election Day 2002 raise
troubling questions about who paid for a scheme to jam phone lines
set up to get voters to the polls.
Oh really, Mr. Henderson? You may be correct that the state Republican party was investigated, but this horse is far from dead. In fact, the Delay and Abramoff investigations make their connection to the phone jamming scandal very relevant. The question remains, what interest do those two tribes have in the outcome of a New Hampshire Senate race?
Rep. Tom DeLay’s political action committee, Americans for a
Republican Majority, gave $5,000 to the state Republican Party on
Nov. 1, 2002, four days before the election in which Republican John
Sununu won his Senate seat by defeating former Democratic Gov. Jeanne
Four days earlier, the state party received $5,000 each from two
Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist with close
ties to DeLay. Together, the three donations nearly equal the $15,600
Republicans paid a telemarketing firm to make repeated hang-up calls
to the Democratic phone banks.
DeLay recently stepped down as House majority leader after being
indicted in Texas on conspiracy and money laundering charges.
Abramoff also has been charged in an ongoing federal corruption and
"It just so happens that the money came into New Hampshire just a
matter of days before the phone jamming. Is it just a coincidence? I
don’t know, but that’s a question I’d like to get an answer to," said
Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, who argues that the tribes
would have no reason to spend money in New Hampshire. "What you have
here is the sound of two scandals colliding."
The hang-up calls overwhelmed the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote phone
banks and a ride-to-the-polls line for more than an hour on Election
Day. Former state GOP director Chuck McGee and Republican consultant
Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme and James
Tobin, a former regional director for the Republican National
Committee, is scheduled for trial in December.
Suspicious that other high-ranking GOP officials outside the state
played a role, Democrats meanwhile have filed a lawsuit seeking more
information about who devised and paid for the scheme. But the state
GOP’s current chairman, Warren Henderson, said Thursday that the
state party was thoroughly investigated and McGee was appropriately
"No doubt, Kathy Sullivan will continue to find any angle she can to
beat this dead horse, but the federal government already investigated
this," he said.
Andrew Blum, a spokesman for Abramoff, had no comment Thursday.
Calls to the Agua Caliente tribe and the Mississippi Choctaw tribe
were not immediately returned.
Of course, Delay and the national Republican Party saw an opportunity to pick up a seat in a close race. They diverted funds to New Hampshire to help Sununu win and the Abramoff connection has surfaced because of his role as a lobbyist for the very tribes that sent money to New Hampshire and which helped fund, either directly or indirectly, an illegal and despicable activity aimed at interfering with our right to vote. This investigation still has legs.