23 February 2006


Unionleader via Buzzflash

More than $2.8 million.

That appears to be the new total of the Republican National Committee’s legal bill for the defense of convicted 2002 Republican phone-jamming conspirator Jim Tobin.

We reported two weeks ago that the RNC’s year-end financial report, on file with the Federal Election Committee, contained a $1.7 million payment to Williams and Connolly, the Washington law firm the RNC hired to represent Tobin.

The RNC wouldn’t say what it was for, but it had acknowledged last summer paying $722,000 for Tobin’s defense to that point.

The RNC’s latest report, filed last week, shows $330,000 more paid to Williams and Connolly on Jan. 26 for the old stand-by description “legal services.”

If it was also for Tobin’s defense, then the total is now more than $2.8 million.

And counting, perhaps. Tobin is fighting his December conviction by a federal trial court jury in Concord with several motions calling for the verdict to be thrown out and for a new trial.

Judge Steven McAuliffe has scheduled a hearing for March 17.

All those lawyer-hours cost (somebody) money.



Paper continues to fly in the civil action brought in 2004 by the state Democratic Party against the GOP over the phone-jamming case, with a hearing on several motions scheduled for April.

Who knows what the outcome will be? But Democrats point out that a Virginia case, with arguably a less serious allegation than jamming get-out-vote-vote phone lines, ended up costing that state’s Republican Party big time.

In November 2004, the GOP Virginia paid 33 Democratic lawmakers $750,000 to settle an eavesdropping case, which, according to a Virginia news report at the time, had “bedeviled Republicans for more than two years.”

It seems the former Virginia GOP executive director had eavesdropped on private conference calls of Democratic officials who were discussing political and legal strategies. Reportedly, he eventually pleaded guilty to intercepting a wire communication, a felony.

The GOP agreed to pay the Democrats a $750,000 settlement.

The GOP attorneys in the Virginia case: Williams and Connolly.

By the way, the latest New Hampshire Republican State Committee financial report shows $1,772 on hand as of Jan. 31. Last month’s largest donor, perhaps as a parting gift, was outgoing state chair Warren Henderson, who gave $5,000.


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