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Repug "phone jammer" heading to the slammer

Chuck McGee’s heading to the Big House for seven months; Chimpy’s former New England campaign chairman, James Tobin, might be joining him.

Nice to see one of those upstanding Republicans forced to admit to screwing around with the democratic process. And he’s got no regrets except that he got caught, since he plans to go back to work for the GOP for the next election cycle. I’m sure they will welcome this criminal with open arms. (

The former executive director of the state Republican Party was sentenced Thursday to seven months in prison for jamming Democratic telephone lines during the 2002 general election. Chuck McGee pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to make anonymous calls to annoy or harass. He also was fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service. He faced up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“I made a mistake,” McGee said as he left court. “I’m prepared to pay for that mistake.”

McGee resigned in 2003 after police alerted federal prosecutors to the phone-jamming operation. He denied any wrongdoing at the time. He later admitted paying $15,600 to a Virginia telemarketing company that hired another business to call get-out-the-vote phone banks around the state. The computer-generated calls — more than 800 in all — lasted for about an hour and a half. They also disrupted a nonpartisan firefighters’ union phones.

Actions of this nature strike at the core of the democratic process,” U.S. District Judge Joseph DiClerico said.

James Tobin, the former Northeast political director of the national party committee working to elect Republican senators, also is charged in the case. Prosecutors say he orchestrated the jamming. Tobin has pleaded innocent.

…McGee asked to serve his sentence promptly. He must turn himself in by April 26. “I’ll be back in 2006 to help some good Republicans get elected,” he said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding