The former head a Republican consulting group pleaded guilty yesterday to jamming Democratic telephone lines in several New Hampshire cities during the 2002 general election.
Allen Raymond, former president of the Virginia-based GOP Marketplace LLC, waived indictment and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord yesterday. Judge Joseph A. DiClerico Jr. released Raymond him on his own recognizance pending sentencing and ordered him not to apply for a passport.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, said an investigation into the telephone jamming continues.
According to court papers released yesterday, 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 1½ hours on Nov. 5, 2002, the day New Hampshire voters went to the polls to decide many state and federal races, including the closely watched U.S. Senate race between outgoing Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and then Congressman John Sununu. Sununu, a Republican, won the race.
Democrats, who pushed for an investigation for two years, said they were glad to see a prosecution has begun.
“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 of Alexandria, Va., 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. McGee had told The Union Leader he had only vaguely heard of the company; Millerick has said McGee was mistaken.
“The New Hampshire Republican State Committee was pleased to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice investigation,” Millerick said in a statement released late yesterday. “These allegations have been extremely troubling and we are happy that it appears they are coming to a just conclusion.”
Raymond pleaded guilty to a crime that prohibits “harassing telephone calls in interstate communication without disclosing the caller’s identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person at the called number ….”
A criminal information complaint filed in court yesterday charges that Raymond worked with “co-conspirators known to the government,” but did not identify them.
The complaint said he paid a “vendor co-conspirator” $2,500 to make the actual calls. In previous articles, Manchester police have said that GOP Marketplace hired Idaho-based telemarketer Milo Enterprises to jam the lines.