The Price of Eavesdroppers

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida: When John and Alice Martin picked up Newt Gingrich and John Boehner on their radio scanner last December discussing ethics charges against the Speaker, a violation of his agreement with the ethics committee, they thought they had discovered "a part of history." The price for that discovery may turn out to be $10,000. The Justice Department filed criminal charges Wednesday against the two Democratic Party activists. The Florida couple faces $5,000 each in fines for violating state and federal laws against eavesdropping on phone conversations (Boehner was using a cell phone at the time) and disclosing their contents. The Martins have agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into how the embarrassing conversation transcript was initially passed to the then-ranking Democrat on the ethics committee and eventually wound up in the hands of The New York Times.