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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 17, 2014
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


ALSO: More Feeney Lies, Ethical Problems Revealed as Florida 'Vote-Rigging' Software Firm Owner Contributes $5000 to the Corrupt Congressman's Abramoff Legal Defense Fund...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2007 8:05am PT  

By Brad Friedman from on the road in Burlington, CO...

The recent Dan Rather report (complete video here) on the gaming of the paper punchcard ballots by Sequoia Voting Systems in Florida, just prior to the 2000 election, plugs up at least one important "hole" in the Clint Curtis story. We first broke Curtis's story back in late 2004 and have been reporting on it ever since.

You'll recall that Curtis alleged --- in sworn affidavit [PDF], live video-taped testimony before a U.S. House Judiciary delegation, and via polygraph test --- that he was asked by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) to create a touch-screen vote-rigging prototype program, just months prior to the 2000 election when they both worked at the same Florida software firm.

One of the main criticisms of Curtis's striking allegations at the time was that "nobody was even thinking about touch-screen voting systems in Florida prior to the 2000 Presidential Election debacle."

Dan Rather's remarkable investigative report, however, would seem to indicate otherwise: seven Sequoia company whistleblowers reveal on camera that, despite their objections, they were forced to use poor quality paper for the punchcards to be used in Florida in 2000. They also revealed that they had been instructed to deliberately misalign the chads for ballots going to Palm Beach County, FL, only.

Back in 2004, just after The BRAD BLOG broke the original story of Curtis' allegations, some in the media were skeptical. On 12/13/04, Kim Zetter picked up on the story for WIRED and wrote...

Some details of Curtis' statements don't check out. West Palm Beach city didn't use touch-screen machines in 2000, something Curtis didn't know when Wired News spoke to him. It was the pregnant chad controversy in that year's presidential election that led Palm Beach county, where West Palm Beach resides, to replace its much-maligned punch-card system with touch-screen machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems in December 2001.

Unknown to the dubious Zetter at the time, was that someone at Sequoia, as the Rather report now reveals, seems to have known what they were doing when they gamed those paper ballots in Florida in 2000, since the company had already had touch-screen voting machines in the pipe-line, and indeed, already in use since as early as 1999 in California. If someone at Sequoia was pushing towards a change to touch-screen voting for Florida in 2000, the charges that Feeney might well have been aware, and supporting such a move is not quite as absurd as Zetter seemed to suggest in her article.

As well, another recent revelation puts the lie to Feeney's claim, made years ago, that he no longer had anything to do with the owners of the Oviedo, Florida, firm where he was the general counsel and registered lobbyist in 2000 (even as he served as Speaker of the FL House at the same time). Curtis was employed as a computer programmer for the company, which had multi-million dollar contracts with both the state and NASA, where Feeney's wife has worked for several years.

New information reveals that the owners of the company remain personal friends with Feeney, and continue to funnel money to him even while they hope for further contracts from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics, in which Feeney has recently been promoted to ranking member.

TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING SYSTEMS AND PRE-2000 FLORIDA

Connecting a few dots here... Sequoia had already deployed its new touch-screen voting systems in several precincts in Riverside County, CA, back in 1999. In 2000 the systems were to be used county-wide for the first time. Sequoia knew damned well that they stood to make millions from the use of touch-screen voting systems long before the 2000 election, even as their paper ballot shop was preparing the flawed paper ballots for use in Florida's election that same year.

As reported by Rather, the company made just pennies per ballot on the punchcards and only a few hundred dollars on punchcard counting machines. But millions stood to be made on their newer technology, which sold for thousands of dollars per touch-screen machine. The stunning on-camera testimony from the seven company whistleblowers suggests that the company --- and/or someone else --- may have had a plan in place to speed the transition to touch-screens prior to the 2000 election in Florida. That, of course, is precisely the same moment in time that Curtis alleges Feeney asked him to create touch-screen vote-rigging software, when they both worked for Yang Enterprises, Inc....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Buckeye State Election Integrity Advocates Match Votes to Voters on the State's ES&S Voting Systems
Systems from Other Companies, Such as Diebold, Have the Same Problem...No Matter How Much Their Spokespeople Lie About It...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2007 4:15pm PT  

By Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Enough. Enough. Enough already with this nightmare. It's time to decertify, ban, burn, crush, destroy all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines. Period.

DREs should never be allowed for use in another American election. Period.

Here's the lede from today's latest head-spinner, courtesy of Declan McCullagh at C|NET News...

Two Ohio activists have discovered that e-voting machines made by Election Systems and Software and used across the country produce time-stamped paper trails that permit the reconstruction of an election's results--including allowing voter names to be matched to their actual votes.
...
Ohio law permits anyone to walk into a county election office and obtain two crucial documents: a list of voters in the order they voted, and a time-stamped list of the actual votes. "We simply take the two pieces of paper together, merge them, and then we have which voter voted and in which way," said James Moyer, a longtime privacy activist and poll worker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.
...
Moyer and fellow activist Jim Cropcho tested this by dropping by the election office of Delaware County, about 20 miles north of Columbus, and reviewing the results for a May 2006 vote to extend a property tax to fund mental retardation services (PDF). Their results indicate who voted "yes" and who voted "no"--and show that local couples (the Bennets, for instance) didn't always see eye-to-eye on the tax.

ES&S machines are used in 38 states, and, of course, the ES&S spokesperson quoted in the article blames Ohio's procedures for allowing such records to be viewed by the public in the first place. Remember, the voting machine companies hate transparency and don't believe citizens should have the right to see anything concerning their own democracy.

They will also try to distract from the fact that the greatest threat to election integrity and security comes from election insiders --- such as voting machine company employees and elections officials --- rather than the public at large.

The well-reported and sourced C|NET article explains that the other major voting machine companies, Sequoia and Diebold, both deny that the same thing --- matching voters to votes --- is possible with their machines. An unnamed Diebold spokesperson, as usual, goes so far as to lie about the matter to the reporter, claiming they don't include time-stamps on the records for security and privacy reason. He/she added, "We're very sensitive to the integrity of the process."

That Diebold spokesperson is, of course, lying.

Last week, The BRAD BLOG detailed fraudulent claims on Diebold's website which said that on their touch-screen systems "the order of cast ballots is scrambled to further insure ballot anonymity." That claim runs counter to the findings of University of California's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all certified voting systems in the state. The UC findings [PDF] on Diebold's voting system source code, as commissioned by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, revealed precisely the opposite to be the truth...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Yet Another One Bites the Dust in Continuing U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2007 4:07pm PT  

TPMMuckraker has the scoop on the latest now-former U.S. Attorney to resign entirely from the DoJ in the wake of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Bradley Schlozman had reportedly been under investigation by the DoJ's inspector general. Schlozman had been moved into the U.S. Attorney position in Western Missouri before subsequently bringing bogus "voter fraud" indictments in the state just prior to the November 2006 general election.

The MO indictments were in violation of the DoJ's own written rules, which disallowed such cases being brought during an election period. After leaving his post in Kansas City recently, Schlozman had been reassigned at DoJ in the office which oversees all U.S. Attorneys. He was recently called to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was on the receiving end of angry disbelieving questions by Sen. Patrick Leahy (video of the exchange here). After the testimony, a DoJ insider told The BRAD BLOG that he found testimony to be "on the razor's edge of purjury." Schlozman would later send clarification of his testimony to the Senate Committee.

Schlozzie --- along with Hans von Spakovsky, who still awaits Senate confirmation for appointment as head the FEC, after he'd previously been recess-appointed by Bush last year --- have been much criticized by DoJ insiders for helping to gut the Voting Rights section of the department's Civil Rights division.

While dozens of DoJ and White House officials have been forced to quit in the wake of the scandal, the White House and DoJ continue to insist that no illegalities or improprieties were committed.

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Speaking Thursday Night in Kirkwood After Screening of 'Stealing America: Vote by Vote'
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2007 10:28am PT  

If you're within driving, walking, running distance of St. Louis, Missouri, please consider coming out Thursday Night to the Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood (216 East Argonne) for an Election Integrity evening.

I'll be speaking and answering questions and heckles, right here in Thor Hearne Country, after a screening of Dorothy Fadiman's excellent documentary, Stealing America: Vote by Vote (which is being submitted for an Academy Award nomination, btw).

The sponsors of the free event, Missourians for Honest Elections, have also invited to speak both Thor Hearne, chief Bush/Cheney/GOP voter disenfranchiser and founder of the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), as well Paul DiGregorio, former St. Louis County Election Director turned chair of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) who parlayed those jobs into his current position at the ironically named Internet voting company Everyone Counts. Those St. Louisans, and several others currently serving on the county's Board of Elections have all so far declined the invitation to show up, speak, and answer questions.

So I guess I'll have to talk about them instead.

WHEN: Thursday, August 16, 2007. Film at 6:30pm CT, I speak at 7:30pm CT.
WHERE: Eliot Unitarian Chapel, 216 E. Argonne, Kirkwood, MO (map)
MORE DETAILS: Here and here, along with some kind words from the Fired Up! Missouri folks right here.

Hoping to help get folks "fired up" indeed, here at "Ground Zero" in Missouri. So please come out if ya can.

Here's an in-studio radio appearance I did yesterday with the great newsman, Don Marsh on KWMU, St. Louis' NPR station. Exit pollster and political scientist Ken Warren also joined us by phone for the 45 minute interview with callers, etc. St. Louis County Election Director, John Diehl was supposed to call in late in the program. He never showed. Go figure.

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After Her FBI Boyfriend Got Her Off the Hook During the Palm Beach County Sherrif's Investigation, Will Jeb Bush's FEC Appointees Do It Again?
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2007 5:46pm PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad Friedman, still on the road, still deep in the heart of Texas...

Currently way off the grid, and not even sure if I can get this item to post from here. So we'll leave the heavy lifting to Jose Lambiet of the Palm Beach Post, who delivers another Ann Coulter Voter Fraud scoop, reporting that she's "not off the hook" just yet.

For the backstory, see our "Coulter Fraud" Special Coverage Page at http://www.BradBlog.com/CoulterFraud. The short version: She committed third-degree voter fraud in Palm Beach County when she lied on her registration. Period. Dead to rights. She also lied on her driver's license down there (another third-degree felony) and knowingly voted at the wrong precinct (first degree misdemeanor). Again, all dead to rights. The link above offers all the proof any attorney with balls bigger than Coulter's would need. And here's her fraudulent Voter Registration form to boot.

But for now, here's Lambiet's latest scoop in the matter:

When it comes to GOP twig Ann Coulter and her Palm Beach voting snafu, the fat lady has yet to sing.

While most expected the conservative pundit to be off the hook for good when the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office punted a voting fraud probe in April, the Florida Elections Commission now is investigating.

Coulter, a constitutional lawyer, voted in the wrong precinct in a Palm Beach town election in February 2006 after registering at an address that wasn't hers.

The Coulter voting saga is now known as FEC Case No. 07-211. The investigator assigned, Tallahassee's Margie Wade, wouldn't confirm she caught the case; FEC complaints are supposed to be confidential.

Still, Page Two is told Coulter already has been notified she's under investigation.

The rest of Lambiet's story is here at the Post site, but since those stories get archived after a while, and since we think it's a good idea to keep this story in the public eye, the rest of his coverage is also copied below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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After being hidden from the public for more than two years, records reveal apparent forgeries in the first city ward examined
How is it US Attorney Steven Biskupic missed this? Could he have been looking for voter fraud instead of election fraud?
By John Washburn on 7/23/2007 11:10am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Washburn

(NOTE: Washburn be appeared today on The Peter B. Collins show, as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, to discuss his findings. The archived interview is now available here..)

After a two year interruption, I am beginning to go through the copies of November 2, 2004 election records which were provided to me in the settlement of my lawsuit with the City of Milwaukee Election Commission.

People have asked me: "Why do you still pursue this after two years? Get a life. The election is over and John Kerry carried the state with 11,384 ballots."

The high minded reasons are:

  1. Because it is the duty of sovereign citizens to watch public officials vigilantly and eternally. This is a design principle of the American government; Citizens watch those in power.
  2. Process auditing is the act of verifying written procedures were actually followed as documented. As a software tester process auditing is in my professional "sweet spot." I thought I could do some process audits of the canvassing done by several cities and share the results with others. I considered this my contribution to the body politic if any of my fellow citizens would want to do the same.
  3. Election results are important. John Kerry carried Wisconsin by 11,384 ballots out of 3 million cast (2,997,007 to be exact). This is 0.38% of the vote. It is important to know which candidate won such a razor thin election; especially since the State of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee in particular were rife with problems.

But, to be brutally honest the answer is it has been primarily spite and anger which has kept me on this like a Jack Russell terrier clamped to the sleeve of a shaking arm. And the results of my initial examination of these records reveal immediately disturbing findings...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2007 11:44am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

The official nominations aren't to be announced until tomorrow. But if this page at the official Emmy Awards site is accurate, it looks like our friends who created the tremendous Hacking Democracy documentary which aired on HBO before last November's election have been nominated for an award in the "OUTSTANDING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM‑‑LONG FORM" category!

We reviewed the documentary for ComputerWorld in the week before the election last year right here. The nominated team, as posted on the site, includes:

Hacking Democracy - HBO

Executive Producers
Sian Edwards, Earl Katz, Sheila Nevins, Sarah Teale

Supervising Producer
John Hoffman

Producer
Robert Carrillo Cohen

Director/Producers
Simon Ardizzone, Russel Michaels

They'll face some stiff competition, it looks like, in that category, but the nomination itself will undoubtedly draw more needed attention to this important film and it is, as they say, an honor just to be nominated. Congrats, guys!

Bev Harris, naturally, one of the film's central players, had the scoop from inside sources yesterday and offers more details in her post.

The official Hacking Democracy site is right here, and you can purchase the film online from the producers at Public Interest Pictures (DISCLOSURE: They are BRAD BLOG advertisers) right here.

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Ron Paul Supporters Concerned Diebold DREs Will be Used to Deny 'Groundswell of Support' for Surprisingly Popular Candidate...
By John Gideon on 7/15/2007 10:34am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

August 11 is the date for the Iowa GOP presidential "straw poll." In this "straw poll" Republican voters from all over Iowa will walk, drive, or share a bus to the campus of Iowa State University where they will be allowed to pay $35 each for the honor of casting a ballot for their choice for President.

This "poll" is semi-important within the world of Republican politics. Both McCain and Giuliani have decided to pass and will not participate. However, for the candidates who are lower down in the polls this "straw poll" may be all important. The supporters of Dr. Ron Paul, for instance, claim that he has thousands of supporters within the state and that they are going to do all they can to get them to Ames.

With all of that the supporters of Paul have got another gripe and concern that sounds much like the same concern many in the Election Integrity community have; the poll, which used to be done on paper ballots, hand-counted in public, will be conducted on Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. The Ron Paul group is very concerned that the machines will be gamed in order to make their candidate's showing less than what it should be and in order to inflate the results for those whom the Republican National Committee (RNC) want to have a good showing.

The following email was sent by a member of Paul's support group to a large list of Election Integrity groups:

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Founder, Front Man, Thor Hearne, Crawls Out from Under His Rock to Provide a Few Laughs
Even as His Vote Suppression Efforts Continue to Haunt the DoJ, America's Electoral System...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2007 11:43pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...

While it's tough keeping up from the road --- where we will be for a long while still --- we rest much easier knowing that Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers continues to lift the rocks and scrape off the slime that's found under them in the name of the disgraced "non-partisan" GOP front group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) and their vote-suppressor in chief, the Bush/Cheney '04 General Counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

Today, Gordon advances the ACVR story --- which we broke more than two years ago and have been drilling down into ever since --- with the latest in his string of doozies that he's been rolling out since jumping on the beat.

His latest must-read begins by detailing the ACVR Menace as it reached its tentacles into New Mexico and the case behind the political firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

He also details some fresh gut-busters from our friend Thor, whose turds just don't seem to have the same luster they once did, when previously offered to a far less dubious media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Asst. Attorney General Alex Acosta Sent Letter to Federal Judge Backing Republican Effort to Challenge Democratic, Minority Voters Just Prior to Presidential Election
Investigation into Illegal RNC Effort Spreads from Florida to the Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2007 9:37am PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad Friedman from Alabama (with a laptop on my knee)...

McClatchy's excellent Greg Gordon reports that the DoJ had written a letter in support of vote caging by Republicans in Ohio in 2004...

Ex-Justice official accused of aiding scheme to scratch minority voters

WASHINGTON - Four days before the 2004 election, the Justice Department’s civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African-American voters.

The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges.

In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would "undermine" the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters’ credentials.

Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as "vote-caging" in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.
...
But Robert Kengle, former deputy chief of the department’s Voting Rights Section who served under Acosta, said the letter amounted to "cheerleading for the Republican defendants."

"It was doubly outrageous," he said, "because the allegation in the litigation was that these were overwhelmingly African-American voters that were on the challenge list."

Joseph Rich, a former chief of the department's Voting Rights Section, called the Ohio scheme "vote caging."

As BRAD BLOG readers know, we've been reporting --- often far too exclusively --- on the Florida 2004 vote caging scheme by former GOP oppo-researcher turned Karl Rove assistant turned Arkansas US Attorney turned disgraced former US Attorney, Tim Griffin. As we're on the roll, we'll have to refer you to our "Vote Caging" category for our previous detailed coverage. Scroll through the articles on that page for much more background.

But here's a bit more from McClatchy's piece today...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2007 10:56am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman on the road...

Following up on a letter sent to the DoJ on Monday by Democratic Senators Kennedy (MA) and Whitehouse (RI) demanding an investigation into the vote caging activities of former RNC/Bush-Cheney '04 operative, former Karl Rove protégé, and now former US Attorney from Arkansas, Tim Griffin, senators from his home state have announced their support of such a probe.

"If a citizen's right to vote is being threatened, I think without a doubt it is a very appropriate thing to investigate," Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) told Stephens News Bureau according to a report today. "There are enough suggestions out there that lend itself to that. Investigators owe it to the American people to find out whether or not (voter suppression) did occur."

Michael Teague, a spokesman for Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor, told Stephens that an investigation is overdue, particularly in light of recent testimony from the DoJ's Monica Goodling. "I think at every turn and every corner at this point, the White House has said one thing and done another," said Teague.

Goodling, the DoJ's now-resigned liaison to the White House, told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during sworn testimony, under immunity from prosecution, that Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty "failed to disclose that he had some knowledge of allegations that Tim Griffin had been involved in vote 'caging' during his work on the President's 2004 campaign."

"This has a voter-fraud element to it...Why are we having to ask (the Justice Department) to look into this? Shouldn't that be something that's pretty routine?" Teague wondered.

Setting aside that this is about election fraud, not "voter-fraud" as Teague characterized it, both Democratic Senators are correct that an investigation should occur immediately.

Griffin denied wrongdoing in a teary speech in Arkansas last week. He maintained his innocence again to Stephens on Tuesday, telling them, "As I have said before, the allegations are malicious and false."

Vote caging is the practice of sending targeted registered mail to minority voters with "do not forward" instructions, in order to use any returned letters to challenge voter registrations as fraudulent or press for such voters to be removed from the rolls. In 1981 and 1986, after having done the same thing, the RNC signed consent decrees that they would not engage in such activities in the future. Apparently, they were just kidding both times.

In 2004, Greg Palast of the BBC reported on caging lists attached to email mis-sent by Griffin prior to the Presidential election. The lists reportedly targeted minority voters in Florida, some serving overseas in Iraq. The pre-election reports were all but ignored by both Congress and the American media until Goodling's testimony several weeks ago. Since then, The BRAD BLOG has run a number of exclusive follow-up reports by Palast, most notably here and then here. Griffin resigned on June 2 in the wake of the allegations revealed during the US Attorney Purge investigations. He had been named interim Arkansas US Attorney after the previous USA, Bud Cummins, had been one of the first to be forced out of his job during the DoJ/White House purge.

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Conyers Closes in on Karl and his Rove-bots...
By Greg Palast on 6/17/2007 7:52pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast

Boo-hoo! I made Tim Griffin cry.

He cried. Then he lied.

You remember Tim. Karl Rove's right hand (right claw?) man. The GOP's ragin' cagin' man.

Griffin is the Rove-bot exposed by our BBC Newsnight investigations team as the man who gathered and sent out the infamous 'caging' lists to Republican state chairmen during the 2004 election.

Caging lists, BBC discovered, were used secretly as a basis to challenge the right to vote of thousands of citizens - including the homeless, students and soldiers sent overseas. The day after BBC broadcast that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, sought our evidence on Griffin, Tim resigned his post as US Attorney for Arkansas. That job was a little gift from Karl Rove who made room for his man Griffin by demanding the firing of US prosecutor Bud Cummins.

Last week, our cameras captured Griffin, all teary-eyed, in his humiliating kiss-off speech delivered in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas where he moaned that, "public service isn't worth it."

True. In the old Jim Crow days in Arkansas, you could get yourself elected by blocking African-Americans. (The voters his caging game targeted are - quelle surprise! - disproportionately Black citizens.)

But today, Griffin can't even get an unemployment check. When he resigned two weeks ago following our broadcast, the cover story was that the voter persecutor-turned-prosecutor had resigned to work for Presidential wannabe Fred Thompson. But when Thompson's staff was asked by a reporter why they would hire the 'cagin' man,' suddenly, the 'Law and Order' star decided associating with Griffin might take the shine off Thompson's badge, even if it is from the props department.

Griffin, instead of saying that public service "isn't worth it," should have said, "Crime doesn't pay." Because, according to experts such as law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 'caging,' when used to target Black voters' rights, is a go-to-prison crime.

By resigning, Tim may not avoid the hard questions about caging - or the hard time that might result. When I passed the first set of documents to Conyers (a real film noir moment, in a New York hotel room near midnight), the soft-spoken Congressman said that, resignation or not, "We aren't done with Mr. Griffin yet..."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Group Was Run by Another Shady Character Involved in Missouri Fee Office Scandal, Connected to Jack Abramoff Groups...
By Howard Beale on 6/15/2007 1:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri

On Wednesday The BRAD BLOG pointed out just one of the reasons he may be trying, as much as he is, to make his American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) past disappear. It seems the group lied about their activities on their federal 990 public tax disclosure forms. But here comes another reason he may be hoping to hide his sordid past.

More so than ever before, the interconnected nature of the national and Missouri-based efforts to advance specious "voter fraud" claims and bend the operation of government entities to specific partisan political advantage is becoming clear. And the centrality of Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II to all of those efforts has never been more obvious than it is after the aggregation of a number of key facts.

State corporate and federal tax filings indicate that Thor Hearne --the undisputed mastermind and ringleader of the now-defunct and "disappeared" ACVR --- was responsible for the creation of a Missouri-based front group that issued public "reports" about topics like voter registration fraud which echoed messages being pushed at the national level by prominent GOP officials and ACVR itself. The Missouri organization, the Center for Ethics and the Free Market, was partially funded with one of the only (if not the only) monetary grants awarded by the ACVR and had its bookkeeping and non-profit filings done by Garrett Lott, a key figure in the Missouri fee office management company scheme overseen by Show-Me State Governor Matt Blunt and run out of Hearne's powerful Missouri law firm, Lathrop & Gage.

­While the ACVR was likely not even a gleam in his eye, back in February 2003, Thor Hearne filed paperwork with Missouri's Secretary of State to create a non-profit corporation called Center for Research of Ethics in Public Policy and the Free Market. Those records indicate that Hearne --addressed at the St. Louis office of his Lathrop & Gage law firm --- is the registered agent for the outfit. That organization, either for purposes of brevity or for throwing researchers off the trail, uses a slightly modified version of that name --- the Center for Ethics and the Free Market-- for its operations.

Among the work done by the Center for Ethics and the Free Market is "research" that tracks very closely with the "voter fraud" and "voter registration fraud" fearmongering that had been undertaken nationally by the American Center for Voting Rights. In June 2004, just months in advance of a presidential-year general election, the Center for Ethics and the Free Market issued a report that purportedly pointed to "concerns" with Missouri voter registration efforts [PDF] undertaken by progressive groups like America Coming Together and Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition. That report included language intended to inflate the potential for "voter fraud" --- language that has become familiar via various national voter suppression efforts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATE: Compared Vote Caging With 'Caging Animals'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 10:28pm PT  

Tim Griffin, former Karl Rove protege, former interim US Attorney from Arkansas and felonious vote cager, finally answered some charges in a speech yesterday in Arkansas. Apparently, he welled up with tears at various points in his presentation --- "crying as he said he had no plans to return to politics," reported AP --- to the point that the person who forwarded us the articles on the matter, said we should "call him a wahhhhmbulance."

We'd never be so cruel as to say or report any such thing, of course. That, despite the thousands of voters that Griffin sought to keep from exercising their franchise in America in 2004. During a time of war, no less. All to benefit his Republican paymasters.

AP reports that Timmy says that he plans to stay in Little Rock to "open a 'bipartisan' public affairs firm." We're sure he does.

Concerning the vote caging charges --- the ones based on the pre-2004 emails he sent, with the subject line "Re: caging," which included spreadsheet attachments with the names of thousands of minority (read: Democratic-leaning) voters he'd hoped the GOP would challenge at the polls, including folks in the military serving overseas, by the way --- Arkansas Business reports the former US Attorney is in denial:

"Griffin’s remarks about reports that he participated in effort to suppress Democratic votes, using a technique called "caging," came in response to a question at the end of his speech."This is all made up of whole cloth," he said. "I didn’t cage votes."

Some evidence for the "made up of whole cloth" charges, including some of Griffin's email, is available in this earlier BRAD BLOG exclusive from Greg Palast, who tells us he may have some more comments for us tomorrow on all of this. (UPDATE: Palast's comments on "Tears of a Clone" now here...)

The audio of Griffin's full speech (bring kleenex) is below...

UPDATE: 6/15/07 ThinkProgress quotes more from Griffin's speech in which he refers to the "Internet stuff" about vote caging, and "made jokes comparing caging to tending zoo animals" [emphasis TP's]:

Obviously, I’ve seen the Internet stuff about caging. First of all, the allegations that are on the Internet and have spread through the tabloids are completely and absolutely false, number one. And ridiculous. Caging, as you may know, I had it looked up, is a direct-mail term for basically organizing returned mail. … And I’ll just say that it’s so untrue. … This is all made up and faux pas. I didn’t cage votes, I didn’t cage mail, I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper.

UPDATE: 6/26/07 Video of part of Griffin's speech is now available at BRAD BLOG.

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Refers to GOP Operative, Mark 'Thor' Hearne, by Name as Source of 'Information'
Hearne and His Disinfo Operatives Need to be Subpeonaed Immediately...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2007 8:05am PT  


This is exactly why Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his "voter fraud" scamming buddies need to be called in, under oath --- with subpoenas if necessary --- before a Congressional committee. And pronto. The garbage they've been circulating for years is still taken "as gospel" by the Bush Dead Enders.

Here's one of them. Peter Kirsanow, appointed by Bush in 2001 to the US Commission on Civil Rights. Laura McGann has more details on this clown. But at left is the video of this clown's Senate testimony from last Thursday --- even after all of this stuff has been completely discredited --- repeating the same garbage, known well enough for him to repeat it a mile-a-minute, in a hearing concerning intimidation at the polls.

And yes, you read that right. This guy is on the US Commission on Civil Rights. The entire system has been compromised. It's time to haul in the ACVR bunch and get them on the record, to find out exactly "whodunnit." For example, the ACVR had nearly a million dollars to operate their "non-partisan" tax-exempt outfit in order to generate propaganda for chumps like Kirsanow to puke up in official hearings. That was the plan --- even while they lied about it on their tax forms --- and it's still working like a charm.

Before he became a "non-partisan" "voting rights" advocate, Hearne was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc. He was recognized --- by name --- by Karl Rove when he spoke at a Republic National Lawyers Association event in April of 2006, thanking them for their "work on clean elections" in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

So where did Thor get his million dollars for his now shut down and discredited organization? We still don't know, because nobody has ever asked them under oath.

Anybody in the House or Senate Judiciary Committees paying attention here and feel like finding out?

...CONTACT...
House Judiciary Committee
Senate Judiciary Committee

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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