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RNC Pays Legal Bills for Convicted Senior GOP Official

by XicanoPwr Thu Dec 22nd, 2005 at 04:53:03 PM EST

x-posted on ePluribus Media

Committee chairperson and the former White House political director, responded to Mr. Brian Lunde and Mr. Mark Hearne's, of the American Center for Voting Rights, report on voter fraud entitled: "Vote Fraud, Intimidation & Suppression In The 2004 Presidential Election" in a letter. In this poignant letter, Mehlman writes:

I strongly support your proposal of a zero-tolerance policy toward election fraud and intimidation...The position of the Republican National Committee is simple: we will not tolerate fraud; we will not tolerate intimidation; we will not tolerate suppression. No employee, associate, or any person representing the Republican Party who engages in these kinds of acts will remain in that position. Republicans do not need to resort to fraud and intimidation to win, and no Republican who does deserves victory.


Last Thursday, James Tobin, was convicted for his role in a telephone-jamming scheme to "disrupt phone service to five Democratic Party offices and a firefighters' ride-to-the-polls program on Election Day 2002." Tobin was New England's chairperson of Bush's reelection campaign, New England Regional Director of the Republican National Committee, and the Northeast director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit telephone harassment...and one count of aiding and abetting of telephone harassment...Another count of the superseding indictment had been dismissed prior to submission of the case to the jury, and Tobin was acquitted on a charge of conspiracy to injure the free exercise of the right to vote.
One can speculate, from this crime, now-Senator John Sununu was able to beat New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen in a close race - 227,229 to 207,478 votes.

Because phone-jamming considered of little importance as a crime, it easily went unnoticed by the media. However, this race is significant; according to PBS' NewsHour:

Sununu's projected victory is viewed as a key win in the Republican bid to overturn the one-vote Democratic majority in the Senate.
In early 2003, Josh Marshall reported on the allegations of phone jamming scheme during the tight race in 2002 between now-Senator Sununu and Governor Shaheen. A few days before the election, New Hampshire GOP Executive Director Chuck McGee told Tobin of a plan that involved disrupting the Democrats' communications on Election Day. McGee asked if Tobin could refer him to someone who was knowledgeable about telephones and telemarketing.

Tobin advised McGee to hire Allen Raymond, former president of Virginia-based GOP Marketplace, to carry out the phone jamming. Before the 2002 elections, McGee hired GOP Marketplace to disrupt six phone lines with hundreds of anonymous, hang-up phone calls over two hours before the plot was called off. The effected lines were four state Democratic field offices, the Manchester City Democrats and the Manchester firefighters union.

Both McGee and Raymond have already entered guilty pleas for their roles in the phone jamming. McGee has already served a seven-month sentence in federal prison. Raymond is sentenced to five months but has not yet served his or her time.

There are several interesting facts that have been overlooked:


  1. Republican National Committee has paid more than $722,000 to a powerful Washington law firm hired to defend Tobin because he is the only one of the three who pleaded not guilty.

  2. Tobin's past and his or her previous employers; and

  3. Back in February, The Washington Post reported that Raymond's attorney, John Durkin, did not return their telephone call to seek a comment on a pervious comment Durkin said in court: "[H]is client had been manipulated by senior Republican officials, provoking a heated exchange with the judge;"

The Republican Party Hypocrisy

It is interesting how the Republican Party continue to reiterate its "zero-tolerance policy" and then deny that anybody used any "dirty tricks" aimed at keeping citizens from voting. Yet, the RNC is willing to pay over $700,000 for a couple of high-powered law firms to defend Tobin. According to blogger Betsy Devine - Betsy Devine: Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar? - who has been blogging about the since it first started, the two high-powered law firms in question are New Hampshire's Rath, Young and Pignatelli and Washington DC's Williams & Connolly. Tobin's attorney's are Dennis Black and Dane Butswinkas, Williams & Connolly, and Brian Tucker, Rath, Young and Pignatelli.

AP writes:

Republican Party officials said they don't ordinarily discuss specifics of their legal work, but confirmed to The Associated Press they had agreed to underwrite Tobin's defense because he was a longtime supporter and that he assured them he had committed no crimes.
Could the RNC's hiring of Williams & Connolly be because the law firm belongs to Iran-Contra attorney Brendan "I'm not a potted plant" Sullivan? Or could it be that some of the law firm's notable corporate client's include: Arthur Andersen, Lockheed Martin, PNC Bank, Halliburton/Brown & Root, American Management Systems Inc, Alaska Pulp Corporation, and OAO Corporation? Or notable individuals, which include: President Bill Clinton, Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, Congressman Harold Ford, John Hinckley, and Oliver North?

Who is James Torbin?

There has to be more than just being a longtime supporter for the RNC to foot the bill. And there is more to Torbin, than just having strong ties to the GOP. In 2000, when Steve Forbes made a run for the Presidency, Tobin served as national political director for the Forbes' Presidential campaign. Before the trial was an employee of the Washington, D.C.-based, DCI Group (Click here for the google search results) and he also has his own consulting firm, Tobin & Co., based in Bangor, Maine. During the 2004 election cycle was a Bush Ranger, raising at least $200,000 for the Bush 2004 reelection effort.

The DCI Group is a lobbying front founded by Republican Party ideologues and operatives from the Bush campaign, which specializes in so-called "astroturf" organizing. DCI Group itself is an offshoot of FLS-DCI, founded in 1999 by Tony Feather, Jeffrey Larson and Thomas Synhorst. All three are veteran Republican Party consultants - Feather served as the national political director for the Bush-Cheney 2000 election team. DCI Group was spun off from the main company just after Bush came into office, and has since handled several campaigns for the Republican National Committee.

The Union Leader wrote:

Tobin reported to NRSCC executive director Mitch Bainwol and political director Chris LaCivita. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist chaired the NRSCC at the time.  Subsequently, Tobin and LaCivita worked together at DCI Group, a Washington GOP lobbying and public relations firm, along with Brian McCabe, a GOP activist who formerly worked in several roles in New Hampshire, including as a campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Bill Zeliff.


The Meaning behind Durkin's remarks

During the trial Tobin's defense attorney Dane Butswinkas, tried to portray Tobin as a hardworking family man, churchgoer and youth mentor who played an insignificant role in the phone jamming.
In 2002, Jim was working 80 to 100 hours a week. He was raising money, arranging state visits by dignitaries, and working with state parties to help them function on their own. He was making more than 100 phone calls per day.

...

My client Jim Tobin is 42 years old. He spent the first half of his life in Windham, Maine and the next half in Bangor, Maine.* He and his wife met in church--when he was 5 years old and she was 4. They have been married for 19 years. They have 4 kids--the "two bigs", their teenage sons, and the "two littles", aged 4 and 7. Jim is very active in the church.

At the same time, Butswinkas was trying to distance Tobin from McGee and Raymond.
Now, you have heard that Tobin was on a higher level than McGee and Raymond. I disagree. Allen Raymond was a national political figure, the head of the Republican Leadership Committee, a prestigious group that included Christie Todd Whitman. Raymond was making a six-figure salary and running a very profitable business.

John Tobin called Allen Raymond, told him a vague idea, said you can expect a call from Chuck McGee.

...

When Mr. Raymond gets here--I don't know what he'll say. It's hard to predict, based on what he's said in the past. Mr. Raymond has a 5 month sentence hanging over his head like a grand piano. He asked the start of his sentence to be held off until after this trial so that he could give, and I quote Mr. Raymond here, "valuable testimony."

It seems the RNC is trying deflect any attention on James Tobin and try to pin it on a scapegoat, Allen Raymond. Who is scapegoat Allen Raymond? And what is his company GOP Marketplace and the Republican Leadership Council? It turns out, the Republican Leadership Council, is the Republican version of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist pressure group. Like the DLC, the RLC philosophy should adopt a more centrist strategy as oppose to the current Christian Fundamentalist position. In 1998, the Slate wrote:
About the only thing a Republican moderate is likely to get worked up about these days is the Christian right, whose existence led to the 1992 creation of the Republican Leadership Council, co-chaired by financier Henry Kravis. The group is housed in a shabby building on Capitol Hill a few doors down from the palatial headquarters of the Heritage Foundation. The elevator groans, and brown paint peels from the window frames. The RLC's purpose seems to be precisely in tune with that of the corporate titans who supposedly rule the party: Get government out of the bedrooms and concentrate on lowering taxes. Yet the group's budget is dwarfed by that of Heritage, which rakes in corporate contributions while scattering its attention between economic and social issues.

Moderate Republicans are giving America what it wants. Broadly speaking, they provided their party with its last two presidential nominees (George Bush and Bob Dole) and, according to early betting, will serve up the next one (George W. Bush). Yet even as their votes in Congress are courted this week by Republican leaders and the White House, their ranks seem in no danger of expanding. For all their good manners, common sense, and solicitude toward voters, they just don't command much respect.

Josh Marshall also discusses the RLC and provides which Republicans are involved in the RLC. Steve Kornacki of PoliticsNJ.com provided some informative information regarding Allen Raymond's background.

Raymond first involvement in the Republican Party began when he started working for the state Republican committee as well as former Rep. William Martini. Kornacki reported, in 1994, Raymond helped Martini win his congressional race, "followed the congressman to Washington, D.C. where he served as chief of staff for two years."

However, Martini lost his re-election in 1996 to Democrat Bill Pascrell, Jr., so after the election:

Raymond became a field representative for the Republican National Committee. He served Research Director and Press Secretary of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, and founded his consulting firm three years ago. He is also the Executive Director of the Republican Leadership Council, which is chaired by former Rep. Richard A. Zimmer.
Raymond's role in the RNC seems pretty minimal, which doesn't really explain why the RNC would spend over hundreds of thousands of dollars on Tobin. So, how does this long time RNC backer get the red carpet treatment?

Two Scandals Colliding: Connecting the Dots

There are two interesting facts that RNC would wish this matter could just disappear: 1) Tobin worked as Northeast political director for the Republican Senatorial Committee under then-President Senator Bill Frist; 2) Tobin's strong connections to Abramoff, DeLay, and Rove.

Dr. Frist climb to the top is very interesting and should be discussed. Senator First was first elected to the U.S. Senate 1994 during the Republican Congressional takeover. In 2000, he won his second term he was and unanimously elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The purpose of the NRSC:

The Committee was formed with the primary goal of supporting Republican candidates to the United States Senate by offering current and prospective candidates support in a number of ways. The NRSC provides invaluable assistance such as budget planning and compliance guidelines for Federal Election Commission law, fundraising, communications tools and messaging, and a research and strategy center.
During that time, James "Jim" Tobin was working under Senator Frist. Tobin involvement in the GOP is very deep. He has held many leadership position, which ultimately landed him a leadership position in the Bush-Cheney '04 Leadership Team.
Jim Tobin will serve as the New England regional campaign chairman which includes Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Tobin is the founder of The Tobin Company, a Bangor, Maine based communications and political consulting company. Tobin has more than 20 years of political experience and has served as national political director for Forbes for President, Northeast political director for the Republican Senatorial Committee under Senator Bill Frist, regional political director at the Republican National Committee for Chairmen Barbour, Nicholson and Racicot and as a consultant to the National Republican Congressional Committee. In addition, Tobin has advised Senators Cohen, Snowe and Collins.
And as stated in Senator Frist's Biography on the Senator's website, in "December 2002 was [Senator Frist was] unanimously elected Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate." It further states:
Under his leadership as Chairman of the NRSC, for the first time in history, the party of the President won back majority control of the U.S. Senate in a midterm election. He assumed his position as the 18th Senate Majority Leader and 14th Republican Floor Leader having served fewer total years in the U.S. Congress than any previous leader.
If Tobin was suppose to report to Senator Frist, it would be interesting to find out what role Senator Frist had in this scheme as Tobin and McGee were carrying out their phone jamming scheme.

Betsy Devine mentions in her blog:

Josh Marshall has suggested that Tobin's case may be tied to the Abramoff scandal. If Tobin had information on higher-level RNC involvement with Abramoff, the Feds would most likely love to make a deal.
According to New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, there were three donations made to the New Hampshire Republican Party just before Election Day 2002. One donation came a few days before the election from Tom DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority (ARMPAC). The PAC gave a donation of $5,000 to the state Republican Party and Federal Election Commission (FEC) records also show John E. Sununu receiving another $5,000 from ARMPAC via "Team Sununu" in 2002.

On October 28, 2002, two of Jack Abramoff's represented Indian tribes, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Palm Springs, CA, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Choctaw, MS, also gave the state party $5,000. According the Associated Press, the donations equaled the amount Republicans paid the telemarketing firm that made the repeated hang-up calls to the Democratic phone banks.

According to SourceWatch, the ledger showed that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) only contributed $19.30. directly to Sununu's campaign in 1997. As of 2002, the NRSC has yet to contribute anything to Sununu.

Even though Chuck McGee has severed his time, he continues to be loyal to the rank and file.

"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.
The continuing subversion of American government is a fascist pogram devised and implemented by a cult of greed. And the members of this cult are the members of the Republican National Committee and all those who continue to fund them.

The government as we know it "of the people, by the people, and for the people" has been sold to the highest bidder and those interests are those of the corporations who pour millions of dollars to line their pockets. The fact the media has refused to cover this scandal or the all the others is just proof that corporate America is in collusion with the media to keep the American people stupid, in dire financial need, and in support of the very people that are un-democratizing America.

The right to know has been severely hampered by in a game of the prophetic six degrees of George W. Bush. These are wicked people!! Sooner or later, WE THE PEOPLE WILL WAKE UP!! And when that time comes, those who continue to subvert the American democratic process will face the wrath of the oppressed. The consequences of sedition are coming, and once the great sleepy giant that is the American people wake up, there is going to be hell to pay. Six degrees of separation will not be enough to save the criminals that have attempted to play America as the stooge.

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