GOP Consultant Sentenced in Phone Jamming

GOP Consultant Sentenced in Phone Jamming (AP)

The former head of a Republican consulting group was sentenced Tuesday to five months in jail for jamming Democratic telephone lines in several New Hampshire cities during the 2002 election. Allen Raymond, who was president of the Alexandria, Va.-based GOP Marketplace LLC at the time, did not comment as he left the U.S. District Court sentencing. He also was fined $15,600. He had pleaded guilty in July.

Court papers say Raymond and co-conspirators plotted to jam Democratic lines that voters could call for rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont. A line run by the nonpartisan Manchester firefighters’ union also was jammed. The blizzard of more than 800 computer-generated calls lasted about 90 minutes on Nov. 5, 2002, as voters decided races for governor, U.S. senator and hundreds of other offices. State Republicans acknowledged two years ago they hired GOP Marketplace. But then-Republican Chairwoman Jayne Millerick said the company was paid $15,600 for telemarketing services to encourage people to vote Republican, not to jam lines.

The wheels of justice certainly turned slowly on this one. Absent other evidence, I’ll take the Chairwoman at her word that Raymond’s actions weren’t orchestrated by the party. Still, this is an embarrasing episode for the GOP, tantamount to the various incidents perpetrated by the other side in this past election, such as the notorious tire slashings. Hardball campaigning is one thing; this is another thing entirely.

If a small fine and five months in jail represent anything close to the maximum sentence available, we should change the statutes to increase the penalties dramatically. Attempts to disrupt the democratic process in this way are despicable and should be punished severely.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. jenniebee says:

    Let me get this straight: somebody’s lousy kid slashed some tires, and that’s so horrible and representative of Democratic party tactics as a whole that when the head of a Republican consulting group orchestrates a computer-generated phone-jamming campaign, that’s only tantamount to the deviltry of a couple of teenagers?

    No wonder your side goes for that “it’s not torture, it’s more like a frat prank” line.

  2. Tom Carter says:

    No matter which party one identifies with, this kind of crap is unacceptable, no matter who does it. We’re in a sad state if partisans on both sides can’t agree with that simple principle.

  3. James Joyner says:

    jen: The tire slashers were grownups. See photos here. Children aren’t “Democratic activists.”

  4. SoloD says:

    I assume that the NH GOP, which according to them was duped by these consultants, is undertaking civil action to see that their $15K is returned?

    Given that the then executive director, Chuck McGee pled guilty a month ago, I imagine that won’t be happening anytime soon.

    So the paid consultants and the ED of the party knew about this criminal enterprise, but just them, right? James your trust is probably misplaced on this one.

  5. lt bell says:

    this kind of criminal behavior comes straight from the desk of carl rove and bush probably knows all about it.
    After all when you approve turning the truth into some kind of spin that is not the truth – you are a liar.

  6. LJD says:

    One consultant gets nabbed and we have a conspiracy that reaches all the way to the top.

    What about the voter who decided to shoot her mouth off about the President, inside my polling place, while I was trying to vote? Was she acting on orders from the Kerry campaign headquarters?

    And what ever happened to Kerry releasing his military records?

  7. SoloD says:

    LJD,

    We have a consultant, the Executive Director of the Party, and evidence implicating the person who had to resign as the head of the President’s reelection campaign in New England. (See http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/state/050206tobin.shtml)

    Me thinks there might be some fire in that smoke.

  8. Just some guy says:

    Heh. Seems these folks in New Hampshire have way too much time on their hands. Perhaps they can come to Philadelphia to see what REAL election nastiness looks like:

    1. You want shot up cars? You got ’em. You want firebombs through the front window, we can arrange that, too! Don’t call the U.S. Attorney, or we’ll burn your freaking house down…

    2. You want minor intimidation? We’ll have union thugs stand thirty deep around the doors to campaign headquarters, blocking anyone from getting in or out on election day (and sometimes in the days up to election day). They’ll play smackey face with the FEMALE staffers who have the guts to try to exit the building and they’ll push those broads right back in. The cops won’t help you, it’ll be four hours before they show up and ask us nicely to leave without arresting anyone, and we’ll be right back after they leave.

    3. Oho! You want to use the phone to get out the vote? Our union utility employees will cut your phone and power lines. Multiple times. Over the entire week before election day.

    4. You want to question why our campaign manager is walking out the back of City Hall with boxes full of blank absentee ballots and returning 30 minutes later with completed absentee ballots? You better be ready for some friendly persuasion from our union buddies and Philly’s finest.

    It’s hilarious watching the Dems push this story so hard. Anyone who’s ever seen a Dem city machine campaign like Philly’s knows how corrupt and dirty you can get when power is everything to you.