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Dean writes RNC chair on White House role in phone-jamming

RAW STORY
Published: Tuesday April 11, 2006

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has written a letter to Republican counterpart Ken Mehlman, asking him to explain what role, if any, the White House had in an illegal plot to jam phone lines during the 2002 elections, RAW STORY has learned.

Five Democratic get-out-the-vote centers and a fire fighters union in New Hampshire were inundated with calls made by telemarketers on election day, 2002. The company making the calls was hired by the New Hampshire Republican Party to flood their rival's phone lines.

Records relating to the case indicate that convict James Tobin made two dozen calls to the White House near the date of the incident, all to the Office of Political Affairs. At the time, Mehlman led the office.

The letter, in its entirety, follows:

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April 11, 2006

Ken Mehlman Chairman Republican National Committee 310 First Street, SE Washington DC, 20003

Dear Ken,

Yesterday, the AP ran a story entitled "Phone Jamming Records Point to White House." This story provides new details about the role of the New Hampshire Republican Party in the phone-jamming scandal and raises serious questions as to whether the RNC and the White House were actively involved.

As you know, on Election Day, a telemarketer hired by the New Hampshire GOP jammed telephone lines at five state Democratic and one firefighters union get-out-the-vote phone banks. The AP noted yesterday that the "records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 - as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down."

The AP story also stated that virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number (202-456-6173) which currently rings inside the political affairs office. Although the White House declined today to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002, you may be able to shed some light on the subject, as you were the White House Political Director during that time.

You have often spoken of the importance of making sure that every vote counts. In that spirit, we hope that you will take the necessary steps to clear up the lingering confusion surrounding the RNC and the White House's role in this scandal by answering these questions:

  • James Tobin called the White House two dozen times in three days. Whom was he calling? With whom did he speak? Whom did he work with in the office of political affairs?

  • Tobin worked directly with Terry Nelson, who was then political director at the RNC. When will Mr. Nelson answer questions about his role in the scandal? Whom else at the RNC did Tobin work with?

  • Did the White House authorize this phone jamming scheme and, if so, who specifically did so? Or was the phone jamming authorized by the RNC?

  • Was anyone on the White House staff or at the RNC involved in concocting, authorizing, implementing or concealing this scheme?

The overt effort by the New Hampshire Republican Party to suppress the vote on Election Day in 2002 is unconscionable. The people of New Hampshire deserve an apology. And America deserves to know exactly how deeply the White House and the RNC were involved in the planning and execution of this scheme. We hope you will provide the answers we need so we can move forward together.

Sincerely,

Governor Howard Dean, MD

Chairman