Monday, April 24, 2006

Senate Vote Inquiry Widens as Democrats Probe White House Link

To Republicans, the New Hampshire phone-jamming incident is an isolated case of political dirty tricks that took place more than three years ago.

To Democrats, it's a scandal with echoes of Watergate that may reach all the way to the White House.

Republican leaders are facing questions stemming from a criminal case involving efforts to suppress voter turnout in a U.S. Senate election in the state in 2002. Republican John Sununu won that race over Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, helping Republicans retake control of the Senate.

The facts, on the surface at least, are suspicious: dozens of phone calls to the White House by a man later convicted in the case; the national Republican Party agreeing to pay more than $2.5 million in legal bills; phones jammed on Election Day, not only of Democrats but of a firefighters' group, in the first U.S. congressional elections since the Sept. 11 attacks. Democrats say that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff may even be involved.

``The calls to the White House and the relationship with White House staff are a real eye-opener and should be a cause for concern on all fronts,'' said Sheila Krumholz, acting executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington- based research group. ``It calls into question who the person was on the end of that telephone line.''


FULL STORY

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