Democrats To Sue GOP Over Phone-Jamming

CONCORD, N.H. — The state Democratic Party said Tuesday it will sue the Republican State Committee and its former executive director this week over jamming six Democratic phone lines on Election Day 2002.

Lawyer Finis Williams said the party will seek an injunction in Merrimack County Superior Court ordering the state GOP not to engage in illegal activities in the upcoming election. It will also seek monetary damages.

Democratic State Chairwoman Kathleen Sullivan said the lawsuit will name the Republican State Committee, Allen Raymond and Charles McGee, the former executive director who resigned in early 2003. The two men have been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with conspiring to jam five phone lines at Democratic Party offices and one at the headquarters of the nonpartisan Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association, in violation of federal law.

“It is time for political integrity to return to our state once again,” Sullivan said. She said the GOP should explain why it interfered with “countless” residents’ right to vote.

Raymond, the former head of Virginia-based telemarketer GOP Marketplace LLC, pleaded guilty on June 30. McGee, director of the state chapter of the lobby Citizens for a Sound Economy, is scheduled to enter a plea on July 28. He has declined to comment.

The government alleges that McGee, in his role as the GOP’s top state staffer, had the state committee pay Raymond’s firm $15,600 specifically to jam the six lines.

Federal law says it is a crime to conspire to make harassing interstate calls “without disclosing the caller’s identity and with the intent to annoy … or harass any person at the called number.”

The computer-generated calls went to lines set up for voters who needed rides to the polls in Manchester, Nashua, Rochester and Claremont. The calls lasted for about two hours before Verizon tracked down the caller and broke the jam.

Many state and federal races were decided that day, including the U.S. Senate race between outgoing Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Rep. John Sununu, who won.

State Chairwoman Jayne Millerick said the GOP hired GOP Marketplace for $15,600 for telemarketing services to encourage people to vote Republican.

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