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The price of jam

Now that the criminal part of the Great Phone Jamming Scandal of 2002 is pretty much over here in New Hampshire, we've moved on to the civil part -- and the part where the aggrieved party (the Democrats) aims to make the aggrieving party (the Republicans) squeal like Ned Beatty in Deliverance.

(A quick recap: During the very close 2002 elections, when Republican Representative John H. Sununu narrowly defeated Democrat (and then-governor) Jeanne Shaheen, a Republican operative hired a telemarketing company to flood the Democrats' "get out the vote" phone banks with incoming calls. A clever tactic, only slightly marred by the fact that it was flagrantly illegal. Several of those involved went to prison.)

Anyway, the Democrats are seeking damages from the state Republican party. They want $4.1 million dollars. They came by that amount by adding up all the costs of their "get out the vote" efforts leading up to election day, then taking half of that and dividing it in two, speculating that that was roughly how badly the Republican sabotage hurt them.

The Republicans' response is calculated somewhat differently. They say they should be liable for $4,974, the costs incurred by the Democrats in leasing and staffing the jammed phones.

This is one of those Solomonic questions that could take some serious work. Here's my suggestion on the matter:

The phones were jammed for, roughly, 2 hours. In New Hampshire, the polls are open 13 hours on election day. But I can't see the phones getting much use in the first couple of hours, and they would be pretty much wasted towards the end. In the interest of simplifying the math, let's round that down and say that the Democrats would have gotten 10 hours' worth of useful time out of the phones. That means that the Democrats lost 20% of their potential usage.

If they say that $4.1 million represents half of their total expenditures, that means that they spent $8.2 million. 20% of that represents 1.64 million. Since I rounded before against their interests, I'll round up this time to balance out matters somewhat and call it $2 million dollars. That is closer to 25%, but considering the sheer egregiousness of the offense committed by the duly-chosen leaders of the GOP at the time, I think a little extra is more than warranted.

And if anyone else is uncovered as having been a party to the jamming, or even aware of it and said or did nothing, let's toss their asses in prison too.

I don't like it when anyone, for any reason, dicks around with elections. I'd like to see ACORN put out of the "voter-registration" business. I think Carlos Mantos should also spend a bit of time in Club Fed.

In the end, the integrity of the process is far more important than any single election. And those that forget that and act accordingly need to be stopped, with the full force of the law.


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Comments (6)

When Archer Midlands Daniel... (Below threshold)

When Archer Midlands Daniel tried to corner the citric acid market in the late 90's, the FTC initiated an historic change in punitive measures. They fined them roughly 10 times the approx profit made....100 million dollars. That seems to be the right ratio in this case.


Anyone care to comment on my punishment for any legislator who trades his/her floorvote for earmarks,contracts or just plain cash?

How about disgorging all their personal assets and placing it in a trust for Iraq war vets and dependents.

Then place these shitheads under house arrest for 2-10 years in Section 8 housing, working at a minimum wage job, while using only public transportation as their mode of travel.

Any takers?

Other than legal costs for ... (Below threshold)

Other than legal costs for the criminal trial, I don't see any financial liability here at all. This is simply an unrecoverable loss.

Jay,I agree with you... (Below threshold)

I agree with you, and Semanticleo I like your sidebar. I think most of us can agree that the integrity of the voting process is above all else in politics. If you mess with our elections you'll pay a heavy price, period. I hope that the new congress can pass some meaningful legislation on this issue and while they're at it work on some ethics and lobbying reform that has some teeth in it.

I don't see any financia... (Below threshold)

I don't see any financial liability here at all.

There's compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

Punish Republicans, punish ... (Below threshold)

Punish Republicans, punish them for their evil.

Hey, Hermie, just a quick q... (Below threshold)

Hey, Hermie, just a quick question: were you REPEATEDLY dropped on your head as a child, or is this the result of just one unfortunate happenstance?







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