The prosecution of a Republican official for phone-jamming in New Hampshire was slowed by the Justice Department until after the 2004 election, an unnamed official alleges.
Senior Justice officials delayed the probe "until after the 2004 election, protecting top GOP officials from the scandal until the voting was over," writes Greg Gordon for McClatchy Newspapers.
"An official with detailed knowledge of the investigation into the 2002 Election-Day scheme said the inquiry sputtered for months," Gordon continues, "after a prosecutor sought approval to indict James Tobin, the northeast regional coordinator for the Republican National Committee."
The phone-jamming was apparently "aimed at preventing New Hampshire Democrats from rounding up voters" to participate in the Senate race between GOP Rep. John Sununu and Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D). Sununu won, helping Republicans regain Senate control at the time.
A Manchester, N.H., policeman quickly traced the jamming to Republican political operatives in 2003 and forwarded the evidence to the Justice Department for what ordinarily would be a straightforward case.
However, the official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told McClatchy that senior Justice Department officials slowed the inquiry. The official didn't know whether top department officials ordered the delays or what motivated those decisions.
The official said that Terry O'Donnell, a former Pentagon general counsel who was representing Tobin, was in contact with senior department officials before Tobin was indicted.
Paul Twomey, a lawyer for the state Democratic Party, said the delay spared Republicans embarrassment at the peak of the campaign because a pending deposition would have revealed that several state GOP officials knew about the scheme, which was hatched by their executive director, Charles McGee. The delay also stalled the case beyond its statute of limitations, depriving Democrats of full discovery, he said.
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