Ken Hajjar is the former director of sales and marketing at LHS Associates, the New England election contractor responsible for programming the region's voting machines. He was a childhood friend of John Silvestro, LHS's president. Before working for LHS, he was convicted and sentenced for selling cocaine. During his time at LHS, Hajjar was also involved with local New Hampshire politics in his home town of Londonderry. As an election integrity movement began in the 21st century, Hajjar came under scrutiny for his contempt towards election integrity and his criminal record.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Controversies
- 3 Political connections
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Family and early life
Ken Hajjar was born on October 13, 1949 in Lawrence MA. He grew up with John Silvestro, his future boss at LHS Associates. Hajjar attended Central Catholic High School in Lawrence and got a BA in economics at Suffolk University in Boston. Both Hajjar and Silvestro later moved to Londonderry NH.
Technology company work
In 1987, Hajjar was arrested in Londonderry for selling cocaine. He was indicted and pled guilty, receiving a 12-month sentence in the Rockingham County jail and a fine of $2000. Thanks to his political connections (according to Bev Harris), Hajjar's sentencing was deferred for 1 year, during which he was placed on probation, and $1000 of his fine was suspended. The timeline would imply Hajjar was on probation from 1987 to 1988 and served his jail time from 1988 to 1989.
Joining LHS Associates
In November 1994, Hajjar was hired as director of sales and marketing at LHS Associates. This was nearly a decade after 1985 when LHS first got into the elections business, which Hajjar in a forum post said was "long before [he] worked there". His hiring was probably due in part to his longstanding friendship with John Silvestro, president of LHS. One the earliest public mentions of Hajjar's position at LHS came in a 1997 article.
NH local politics
Around the same time he joined LHS, Hajjar got involved with Londonderry politics. He first entered town politics in the late 1980s, most likely late 1989. Throughout his political career, Hajjar served on numerous committees: the Budget Committee, Capital Planning Committee, Zoning Board, and others. His friend and boss at LHS, John Silvestro, was also active in Londonderry politics, serving on the Budget Committee with Hajjar.
Among many other town politicians, Hajjar gained an unfavorable reputation as an authoritarian bully. He was accused of forcefully trying to squash opposing beliefs and adopting an air of moral superiority. Some town politicians, in fact, saw him as corruptly representing the interests of the real-estate industry. Hajjar, on the other hand, viewed himself as battling constant negativity from the people of Londonderry. And he openly disparaged their idea that a local cabal of "good ole boys" or realtors was controlling town politics.
One political issue Hajjar got involved in was the decision to site an AES power plant in Londonderry. Hajjar fervently supported the plant, speaking in favor of it at town meetings (including one in August 1998). The town held a non-binding referendum over the power plant siting in 1999, which Hajjar disturbingly threatened to rig. On February 3, Hajjar called into a radio show and angrily attacked two women guests who were activists against the AES plant. When the radio host said the voters would decide on the power plant, Hajjar responded "We'll just stuff the ballots". The women were horrified, especially upon learning that he worked for LHS, the state's election contractor. They told John Silvestro, who dismissed their concerns before getting angry and walking away. On election day (March 9), Hajjar visited the polls repeatedly, announcing his intention to vote multiple times. Ultimately, the AES measure was defeated, but the town council passed it anyway.
Part of Hajjar's LHS marketing job was downplaying, if not denigrating, any possibility that elections could be rigged. He also defended questionable company practices that could have opened the door to exactly that.
In 2006, Dori Smith of Talk Nation Radio interviewed Ken Hajjar about voting machine security in New England. He demonstrated a deep resentment of election integrity concerns, remarking that her questions illustrated "how dangerous the Internet has become" and calling voting machine security reports "superfluous". He also defended LHS's practice of swapping out memory cards in the middle of an election, a dangerous practice that provides an opportunity to introduce malicious code. When Smith pointed out that the practice was illegal in Connecticut, Hajjar replied "I don't pay attention to every little law". Furthermore, he claimed that the pre-election test would alleviate any chain-of-custody concerns with LHS replacing memory cards (despite pre-election testing being trivial to game).
In 2007, Hajjar attacked several election integrity activists. He derided Brad Friedman, a blogger on election integrity issues, and his readers as "looney idealogues [sic]" who were "full of shit" for covering issues with voting machine scurity. He also called the AccuVote OS vulnerability found by Bev Harris and Harri Hursti a "scam", asserting that New England elections were impossible to rig, and labeled Nancy Tobi (a New Hampshire election integrity activist) as "clueless".
LHS Associates became the target of serious scrutiny in 2008 after the suspect 2008 New Hampshire primary. Hajjar's criminal record of cocaine trafficking was dug up by Bev Harris's investigative team.
Until at least 2008, Hajjar lived in Londonderry. By 2012, he had moved to Salem NH, which LHS Associates relocated to from Methuen MA in 2011.
Life after LHS
Conflicts of interest
Hajjar's position as a local politician in Londonderry was a conflict of interest with his job at LHS. He had an incentive to manipulate town politics, particularly due to LHS being paid from the local budget and his own potential corruption. As a result, there were numerous elections in which he had a vested interest: his own elections, other local races, town referenda, and more. Hajjar's job left the possibility that he would use his influence to tamper with them. In fact, there was a 1999 Londonderry ballot measure over the siting of an AES power plant which Hajjar supported so strongly that he threatened to rig the election to make it pass.
Disdain for election integrity
Hajjar has been extremely contemptuous towards election integrity and its activists. He's asserted that New England elections are impossible to rig, dismissing security reports and attacking several activists as paranoid, crazy, and delusional. Meanwhile, he's defended and partook in an LHS practice of swapping out memory cards mid-election that leaves the door open to fraud, and he literally did threaten to rig an election in 1999.
Hajjar's criminal record of cocaine sales also raises concerns about the integrity of past LHS-programmed elections. His drug trafficking might have linked him to other organized crime figures with an interest in election fraud, or opened him up to blackmail. This is even more troubling when considering Bev Harris's assertion that Hajjar's sentence was reduced due to his political connections, indicating that he owed somebody favors.
Hajjar's criminal record and local political decisions might imply influence by organized crime and corporate interests (real-estate and fossil fuel companies). His town politics record would need to be looked at more.
At the state and national level, Hajjar's politics are somewhat muddled. He claims to have been a lifelong progressive since the days of McGovern in 1972. His Facebook posts in support of the Democratic Party back this up, as do his campaign donations to Democrats (Obama, NH Democratic congressional candidates, and ActBlue earmarks). However, his party registration is unaffiliated, and in 2000-2008, he voted only in Republican presidential primaries.
- Facebook page
- Voter registration info
- Criminal record
- Drug trafficking sentence - offense on 1987/09/14
- Hajjar debating political ethics 2
- Hajjar was director of sales and marketing as far back as 1997
- Hajjar debating political ethics 1
- Hajjar on the Londonderry power plant
- Hajjar threatening to rig an election
- Disdain for election integrity
- Attack on Brad Friedman as "full of shit" (original comment)
- Donations to Obama for America (2008 and 2012)
- Donations through ActBlue (2015)
- Donations to Maggie for NH (2016)
- Claim of being a longtime progressive
- Donations to Carol Shea-Porter for Congress (2008)
- Raymond Area News, "Write-In Ken Hajjar for Ethics Committee" by Ken Hajjar, 2018/03/10: "My name is Ken Hajjar and I would like your Write-In vote for Ethics Committee. I moved to Raymond in 2014 from Londonderry where I served in many capacities. I was elected several times to the Budget Committee, where I spent 15 years and was the second highest vote getter among 20 candidates to the Charter commission. I served for several years on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and more than 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Londonderry youth athletic association. I was host of a local public affairs program on Londonderry community access television. I served for many years on the Londonderry Old Home Days committee and was twice selected as Parade Marshall. My professional career was in sales and marketing with the final 20 years as sales manager for LHS Associates, the leading provider of vote tabulating equipment in New Hampshire and New England. I am retired and am currently on the Board of Directors of the Sherwood Glen Condo Association."
- New England Telephone background - was an account executive from Feb. 1974 to Oct. 1980
- Harvard Crimson, "Chomsky Files Suit Alleging Wiretaps", 1971/11/30: "A. Noam Chomsky, Ward Professor of Linguistics at MIT, filed suit in Federal District Court in Boston yesterday charging that his telephone has been illegally tapped. The suit names Attorney General John N. Mitchell, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and the New England Telephone Company as defendants."
- George O'Toole, "BIG MOTHER IS LISTENING: An ear-burning expose of Ma Bell's Private CIA", 1976: "James H. Ashley, a former official of Southwestern Bell, recently revealed that, "In the past ten years. the Bell System has upgraded its security force. doubling it in size and hiring FBI types who are used to using wiretaps." But the telephone cops don't all belong to a single, giant police force. All Bell System companies and a few of the larger independent telephone companies have their own security departments. The unifying organization that unofficially links most of these security forces is the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-the FBI agents' alumni club. The Society, which has been described by one former agent as "Hoover's Loyal Legion," consists of some 5,000 gung-ho ex-agents, about half of the total number of former FBI agents. The Society's membership has included such distinguished peace officers as: Robert Maheu, the Las Vegas private eye and Howard Hughes henchman who allegedly helped recruit Mafia hit men for the CIA's attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro; the late William Harvey, an alumnus of both the FBI and the CIA, also involved in the abortive Castro hits; George Wackenhut, president of the rent-a-cop service that bears his name and director of Florida Governor Claud Kirk's private police force back in the 1960s; Arthur Hanes, a former segregationist mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, and defense attorney for the Ku Klux Klan.
The Society's Executive Services Committee functions as a clearing house for top-level private security jobs, insuring wherever possible that such openings are filled by loyal FBI alumni. The company affiliations of the members reads like the Fortune 500 list of major American companies. Former special agents hold down senior security positions in virtually every major oil company, airline, automobile manufacturer, aerospace manufacturer and bank in the country. The telephone company security departments are particularly well represented.
Of the 665 security officers who work for Bell System telephone companies, at least 76 are former FBI agents, and most of these ex-agents are in management positions. Joseph Doherty, AT&T's Corporate Security Director and architect of the massive wiretapping program that recorded 1.8 million private telephone conversations, is a member of the Society. Senior security executives of New England Telephone and Telegraph, Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania, Northwest Bell, Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph, Pacific Northwest Bell and Pacific Telephone and Telegraph are also members of Hoover's Loyal Legion. South Central Bell's security manager for the state of Alabama is one of three ex-agents who hold senior posts in that Bell System subsidiary. Thirteen Society members work for Southern Bell, including two General Security Managers, two Division Security Supervisors and the security manager for the state of Tennessee. Southwestern Bell also boasts 13 Society members, all with the title of security manager or security supervisor and scattered throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas."
- Siemens / ROLM background - was an account executive from Feb. 1983 to Mar. 1993 who "Prospected, qualified, and sold medium to large telecommunications systems to general business"
- Drug trafficking case
- Case 89-S-1151 in the Rockingham County Superior Court (New Hampshire)
- Londonderry town politics involvement
- Nashua Telegraph, "Selectmen send policy on nudity to liquor board", 1992/01/10: "The policy was opposed by only four people, three from the group Citizens Against Censorship, and resident Ken Hajjar, a member of the town Budget Committee."
- 1999 Londonderry annual report
- 2000 Londonderry annual report
- 2002 Londonderry annual report
- 2004 Londonderry annual report
- 2007 Londonderry annual report
- Photo of Hajjar demonstrating a voting machine
- 2006 BBV forum post where Hajjar challenges the Hursti hack
- Organized crime in Londonderry NH
- Drug trafficking during the late 1980s
- Londonderry blog mentions Londonderry Times and "the dirty underworld of town politics, favoritism, and the good old boy network"
- New Hampshire Business Review, "Questions linger over gambling operation legal matters", 2005/02/04
- Laconia Daily Sun, "HART NEPHEW CONVICTED OF GAMBLING IN MASS 15 YEARS AGO", 2013/11/29
- Wife Arlene Hajjar is a real estate agent for Remax
- Methuen High School yearbook for the class of 1983 - mentions the "Prophecy" that "Kenny Hajjar has just been appointed truancy officer by town council members Patty Bell, Sheila Dubois, Karen Gorrie, Rachel Lamontagne, George Araskiewicz, and Debbie Bolduc"; does not match the age of this page's Ken Hajjar