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Eavesdropping Glee Soon Became Fright

Tucker and Thomson later pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. Ryer left his legislative job. Matricardi pleaded guilty to a felony.

Students of Virginia politics said the eavesdropping scandal illustrates the fervor among some Republican operatives as their party rose to power.

_____About Matricardi_____
Anatomy of Virginia's Eavesdropping Case (The Washington Post, Apr 2, 2003)
Ex-GOP Official Indicted in Va. (The Washington Post, Jan 24, 2003)
Eavesdropping Case (The Washington Post, Jan 24, 2003)
Matricardi Indictments Withdrawn (The Washington Post, May 15, 2002)
U.S. Joins Probe Into Monitoring of Democrats' Calls (The Washington Post, May 9, 2002)
Va. GOP Plays Down Eavesdropping Probe (The Washington Post, Mar 30, 2002)
Political Snooping Alleged in Virginia (The Washington Post, Mar 29, 2002)

"There certainly is a tendency to overreach when one party first gets into the majority," said Stephen J. Farnsworth, an associate professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington. "The Republicans had a long, long drought. They had been discouraged for a long time . . . and when that day came, they tried to make up for lost time."

Democratic lawmakers said that their lawsuit had helped unearth details of the scandal and that the large financial settlement sends a message to young people and others involved in politics that a win-at-any-cost mentality is unacceptable.

Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington) said the Democratic lawmakers will use the settlement to pay their attorneys and will make contributions to two university programs that teach political ethics before taking any individual compensation.

"The behavior of the Republican Party of Virginia in this whole episode was almost unbelievable," Whipple said.

Democrats also took aim at Kilgore, the likely Republican nominee for governor in 2005. They said the depositions prove that Kilgore hid his head in the sand as Matricardi discussed his eavesdropping with Kilgore aides.

"He passed it off to one of his lieutenants, and he didn't act," Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said of Kilgore. "And this guy is about to try to lead this state."

Tim Murtaugh, Kilgore's spokesman, said the testimony by Kilgore and others in his office proved that they quickly turned in Matricardi to state police.

"The attorney general and the members of this office have been consistent for the last 33 months," Murtaugh said. "But for the actions of this office, none of this would have ever come to light."

Shawn Smith, executive director of the Republican Party, declined to comment on the settlement or the details in the depositions.

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