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July 01, 2004

You Know, Because Shit Happens I

Former head of GOP consulting group pleads guilty to jamming Democratic phone lines
By Associated Press, 7/1/2004 08:43

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) The former head of a Republican consulting group has pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic telephone lines in several New Hampshire cities during the 2002 general election.

Allen Raymond, former president of the Alexandria, Va.-based GOP Marketplace LLC, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord on Wednesday. Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr. released Raymond on his own recognizance pending sentencing in November.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, said an investigation into the telephone jamming continues.

According to court papers, Raymond plotted with unidentified co-conspirators to jam Democratic Party telephone lines established so voters could call for rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont. Manchester firefighters' union phone lines also were affected.

The jamming involved more than 800 calls and lasted for about 11?2 hours on Nov. 5, 2002, the day New Hampshire voters decided many state and federal races, including the U.S. Senate race between outgoing Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and then-Congressman John Sununu. Sununu, a Republican, won the race.

The complaint said Raymond paid a ''vendor co-conspirator'' $2,500 to make the actual calls.

State Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan had noted that some of the local races were close and that phone-jamming could have affected the outcome, but there was no way to know.

Democrats had pushed for an investigation for two years.

''There is, short of murder, not much that is more horrific in America than purposely trying to stop people from voting,'' said Raymond Buckley, vice chairman of the state Democratic Party. He said the jamming was obviously an organized effort, taking place across the state.

He expects to see more charges.

''Somebody hired them, somebody paid them to do this crime,'' Buckley said. ''I do not believe this investigation should stop until every single person who had knowledge of this and paid for this is prosecuted.''

In early 2003, state Republicans acknowledged they hired GOP Marketplace for telemarketing services in the 2002 election. But Republican Party Chairman Jayne Millerick has maintained the company was paid $15,600 for telemarketing services to encourage people to vote Republican, not to jam lines.

Chuck McGee, who was executive director of the state Republican Party at the time, resigned his post after news broke of the matter.

''The New Hampshire Republican State Committee was pleased to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice investigation,'' Millerick said in a statement released Wednesday. ''These allegations have been extremely troubling and we are happy that it appears they are coming to a just conclusion.''