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'Green News Report' 7/29/14
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Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
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'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
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Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
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Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
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Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
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The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
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'Green News Report' 7/22/14
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Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
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'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
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'Green News Report' 7/17/14
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Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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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
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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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
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


DeLay's #1 Supporter Unapologetic About Money Taken from Duke Cunningham, Abramoff-Funded Golf Trip to Scotland, Foreign Agent-Funded Trips to Asia and More...
Clint Curtis' Campaign Gets Some Florida Ink in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2006 12:32pm PT  

Looks like our old friend, the indefatigably corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), is making news again.

St. Petersberg Times takes a front page look at the "allegations pil[ing] up" against Feeney. Here's some highlights:

Three members of Congress went on a golfing junket to Scotland with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Two of them are under investigation.

The third is Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida.
...
Feeney, 47, has tried to move past the allegations but, in typical fashion, has shown little regret or caution.

He kept patronizing Abramoff's Washington restaurant, Signatures, long after others stopped. He defended former majority leader Tom DeLay even after the Texas congressman was indicted. He let a private group pay for his trip to China last month, even though many in Congress are avoiding such travel because of bad publicity over questionable trips.
...
Feeney, usually one of the most accessible of the state's congressional delegation, refused to answer questions. His staff described questions into his relationship as a "fishing expedition" and said he has done nothing wrong.

So will Feeney disclose who paid for that trip to China last month, in which he visited the Chinese Space Agency and called for more cooperation with them? Perhaps he should, considering that NASA, where his wife also works, is in Feeney's district. Even more notably, Feeney spent years as the general counsel and registered lobbyist for the firm Yang Enterprises, Inc. --- which harbored an illegal Chinese alien eventually found guilty of espionage charges related to sending military missile guidance chips to China --- a firm that currently has lucrative contracts with NASA.

Full disclosure on this matter would seem to be particularly important, given the revelation of Feeney's lies regarding his continuing relationship with the Yangs and their company.

On a related point, here's an unfortunate little tidbit from the article:

Feeney...has been infatuated with politics since he dressed up as his childhood hero Richard Nixon in a mock grade school election

The list of allegations against Feeney continues in the article, along with some ink for Clint Curtis' run for Congress against him:

Feeney was immediately taken with DeLay, to whom Feeney sometimes is compared, and voted with him almost all the time. Later, Feeney became a prominent defender of DeLay, giving $5,000 to his legal defense and supporting a Republican move to allow him to keep his leadership post if indicted.
...
He received $5,000 from former Rep. "Duke" Cunningham's PAC before Cunningham resigned last year amid a bribery scandal.

"My concern about him is that he seems to view the rules are optional," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a group that has primarily criticized Republicans. "Rules are there for a reason."

In September, Feeney was named one of "the 13 most corrupt members of Congress" by Sloan's group. The Congressional Accountability Project demanded that the House ethics panel investigate Feeney and others for their ties to Abramoff.

"No one likes being attacked but he still continues with his daily routine," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, a Brooksville Republican who served in the Florida Legislature with Feeney. "This hasn't changed him at all."

Feeney did not face opposition in 2004 but this year already has two opponents, veterinarian Andy Michaud, a Democrat, and computer programmer Clint Curtis, a lifelong Republican turned Democrat. Both Curtis and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee question Feeney's ethics.

Here's a complete list of Reps who received money from Duke Cunningham. Feeney is among those accepting the most, but has not returned the money at this time.

Hat-tip to Jesselee from Stakeholder, who has more on the St. Pete Times article.

Clint Curtis' campaign website, where he needs much financial and logistical support if he's to have a chance of taking on Feeney and the Florida Republican Machine is right here.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
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By John Gideon on 1/15/2006 5:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In an attempt to beat the inevitable and still save some face, Rep. Bob Ney has announced that he will agree to step down from his seat of power as the House Administration Committee Chairman.

According to the Associated Press:

"Unfortunately it has become clear to me in recent days that the false allegations made against me have become a distraction to the important work of the House Republican Conference and the important work that remains ahead for the House Administration Committee," Ney said in a written statement.

It appears that Bob Ney will continue in the same vein as Tom Delay and kick and scream and deny all the way to court.

If you haven't already, please see BRAD BLOG's exclusive expos� from last week revealing Ney's previously unreported connections to Abramoff, Diebold and HAVA.

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Soon-to-be-Indicted Ohio Congressman's Luck Begins to Run Out...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2006 4:45pm PT  

The powerful Ohio Congressman man who, while gambling at a London casino on a lobbyist paid vacation, got "lucky" and won $34,000 on a $100 bet (just in time to pay off a $30,000 credit card debt) may be seeing his luck finally run out.

Reports now breaking all over the place that House Speaker Denny Hastert is pushing Ney out of his chairmanship position on the House Adminstration Committee...

House Speaker Dennis Hastert is trying to force out Ohio Rep. Bob Ney as chairman of the House Administration Committee, a week after Justice Department documents linked Ney to a bribery scheme involving convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney's committee has jurisdiction over the Republican reform agenda in the wake of the Abramoff scandal, and Hastert believes it is inappropriate to let Ney run it, said a GOP leadership aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the negotiations between Ney and the speaker.
...
"I'm considering it --- stepping down temporarily --- and once the issue is over, I'll come back," he said.
...
The aide said the speaker himself cannot fire Ney, and unless Ney steps aside it would be at least three weeks until the GOP caucus, on holiday break, could consider removing him.

He'll step down "temporarily" and "come back". Now where have we heard that before?

COVERAGE:

-- MSNBC...
-- Hotline...
-- Roll Call... [subscription required]
-- AP...
-- CNN...

-- BRAD BLOG's Ney exposé from Tuesday...

UPDATE from David Edwards: Video Report by CBS News:

-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

Ney, a principal author and advocate for the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 was revealed, last Tuedsay, in a detailed BRAD BLOG exposé to have had very close ties to lobbyists paid by Diebold and Jack Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig.

Most of those ties had yet to be reported by the mainstream media who have been focusing primarily on information concerning Ney's lobbyist-funded trips, gifts and other monies raised via his close relationship with Abramoff and his clients. Much of the information so far reported by the MSM was revealed by the guilty plea agreements filed by Abramoff and his former associate Michael Scanlon.

As we reported in our piece on Ney, his former chief of staff, David DiStefano, was hired by the beleagured and duplicitous Voting Machine Company, Diebold, Inc. in order to lobby Ney to ensure that HAVA's provisions mandating disabled-accessible voting machines in every precinct in the country stayed firmly in place. At the same time, via his post as Chair of the House Administration Committee, Ney was able to hold hearings to smokescreen massive election irregularities in Ohio in 2004 and see to it that bills calling for voter-verified paper records for every ballot cast would never see the light of day.

Our story also reported the thousands of dollars being paid by Diebold to Jack Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig. Though we have yet to find any official disclosure of those payments via congressional lobbying databases. So for the moment, we're still left wondering what happened to that money, and what precisely it was meant to be used for.

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The Dots Connect Between Abramoff, Ohio 2004 Election Smokescreen and Ney's Former Staffer Revealed to be on Diebold's Payroll While Working for White House Law Firm
All the While as HAVA --- America's 'Election Reform' Bill --- is Used for Political Payoff in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 11:21am PT  

There's been a great deal of speculation over the last several days, particularly in the light of Jack Abramoff's recent guilty pleas, concerning the connection of Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) to Election Fraud in Ohio, vis a vis his stewardship and authoring of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) back in 2001 and 2002. The heavy-handed tactics he has taken since, in order to keep the flawed act from being changed in any way over the years, along with going to great lengths to keep the nation's eyes off of massive electile dysfunction in Ohio and elsewhere since 2004, may finally get the attention it all properly deserves.

Both Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon have directly informed prosecutors of Ney's alleged wrong-doing in regard to money and gifts given to Ney, in apparent exchange for support on various legislation and even personal business deals. Ney, who chairs the important U.S. House Administration Committee, has been fingered, and now subpoenaed, for accepting illegal trips, gratuities and other apparent quid pro quo deals with Abramoff's former firms, partners, friends and groups who had paid both him and Scanlon as lobbyists.

His direct connection to the HAVA Election Reform bill passed in the wake of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle, and his various extraordinary efforts to specifically block amendments to the bill and to smokescreen attempted investigations into his home state's conduct during the 2004 Election Debacle, has been less widely reported. Until now.

While Common Cause quietly reported in December of 2004 that Diebold --- the much-beleagured-of-late American Voting Machine company --- paid as much as $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig for lobbying work, The BRAD BLOG has now found additional details that begin to shed new light on Ney's personal connections to Diebold lobbyists.

Such personal connections include those with Ney's former chief of staff turned lobbyist, David DiStefano, who has been working on behalf of Diebold, Inc. and at least one other Voting Machine Company as a registered lobbyist in the House going back to at least 2001. One of DiStefano's online bios crows about his having "an insider's edge to hard-to-reach political officials." That "insider's edge" has proven to have been a very worthwhile investment for the Voting Machine Companies who'd purchased access into Ney's political office.

Congressional lobbying records reveal that Diebold, Inc. has paid at least $180,000 to DiStefano and eventually his partner, Roy C. Coffee, to lobby for the "Help America Vote Act" and other "Election Reform Issues" in Congress since 2003. Another Electronic Voting Machine Company, AccuPoll, Inc., also paid DiStefano some $70,000 to lobby for HAVA on their behalf in 2002, although that relationship was apparently terminated once the legislation was passed by Congress.

In turn, Ney's former employee DiStefano and Coffee themselves have given nearly $20,000 to Bob Ney's campaigns dating back to 2002.

The connections of DiStefano and Coffee don't stop at Congress, however. Both lobbyists now work out of the new Washington office of the Texas-based law firm of Lock, Liddell & Sapp LLP --- the firm of George W. Bush's White House Counsel Harriet Miers. And Coffee, himself, had previously worked as a senior aide to then-Governor Bush back in Texas.

In addition to lobbying in favor of Electronic Voting, DiStefano and Coffee were also paid thousands to lobby Ney on behalf of an obscure firm by the name of FN Aviation, which later became known as FAZ Aviation. FN/FAZ Aviation, the Columbus Dispatch reported last December, paid for Ney's 2003 trip to England. On that trip, Ney met at a casino with FN Aviation's director, Nigel Winfield, a three-time convicted felon, and Fouad al-Zayat, the Syrian-born head of FN Aviation. Zayat, as reported by NBC News, is known as "one of London's biggest gamblers."

As has also been reported by NBC and others, the apparently once-very lucky Ney reported winning some $34,000 a few months later at that same London casino, after an initial $100 bet "on two hands of a three-card game of chance," according to his spokesperson Brian Walsh. Ney, who coincidentally carried at least $30,000 in credit card debt in 2002, was fortunate to be able to report that the debt was paid off in full by the end of 2003.

The dots begin converging, however, in regard to both large campaign contributions and lobbying done by Ney's former chief of staff, DiStefano along with Coffee on behalf of both FN/FAZ Aviation and Diebold, Inc.

Ney was one of the original authors and lead co-sponsors of HAVA, and a fierce defender of both the act and the effort to keep further legislation from moving forward in Congress that would mandate Voter Verified Paper Ballots for electronic voting machines made by Diebold and other e-voting vendors.

In 2004, prior to the Presidential Election, Ney went so far as to send a "Dear Colleague" letter signed along with the other HAVA co-sponsors, to members of congress urging them not to amend the original legislation. He argued at the time that paper records on such machines would somehow disenfranchise disabled voters, who had been cleverly afforded a special provision in the bill which mandated at least one disabled-accessable device in every voting precinct in the country. That device, of course, would be a paperless touch-screen electronic voting machine, like the ones made by Diebold, which, legislators, vendors and lobbyists would later proffer, were required to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Ney had also personally gone out of his way to keep Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" (HR 550), which would mandate paper records for all votes cast, from ever seeing the light of day in the House Administration Committee. That, despite Holt's bill having now nearly 160 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Ney has succeeded brilliantly at squashing Holt's bill, first proposed as HR 2239 back in 2003, as it continues to both gain co-sponsors and gather dust as the powerful Republican committee chair still refuses to allow it even to be brought up for hearings.

The American Prospect's Art Levine broke a superb exposé last May concerning Ney's alleged payoffs from a number of the Indian tribes that now-disgraced, once-uber-lobbyist Abramoff was representing in exchange for promises to support their hope for new gambling legislation back in 2002.

"Just met with Ney!!! We're f'ing gold!!!! He's going to do Tigua," wrote Abramoff to Scanlon in an Email, after Ney reportedly promised to add the Tribe's hoped-for legislation to HAVA while the bill was still pending.

Ney then told the tribes --- who had been instructed by Abramoff and Scanlon to give tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign and to pay for a $100,000 trip to play golf at St. Andrews in Scotland --- that he was working with the Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Dodd, to add gambling language in HAVA that would be favorable to the tribes.

In reality, Dodd had rejected the idea early on in no uncertain terms, as Levine reports, but that didn't keep Ney from spinning tales to the tribal groups. He told them on several occassions, at least once personally, that things were moving smartly forward as he kept accepting more cash and gifts from them along the way.

Finally, when the HAVA legislation was passed, and the promised language was nowhere to be found, Ney informed the tribes that Dodd had reneged on the deal at the last minute.

That was, of course, not true, since Dodd had rejected the plan months earlier.

But as the spotlight of corruption has finally begun to shine bright and clear in the Mainstream Media onto Ney, renewed interest in his support and authorship of HAVA itself --- along with the connections between that legislation, chicanery in Ohio's Election, Abramoff and several other GOP operative and lobbying firms' merry band of pay-for-players --- are helping to bubble up towards the surface a few previously overlooked, but very important, details that may finally now receive the attention they always deserved from the Mainstream Media...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/23/2005 4:00pm PT  

The congressman man who ran sham hearings in House Administration Committee on last year's Ohio Election mess (the ones that exposed the insidious ACVR hucksters), was recently subpeonead by the DoJ where he is said to be under investigation on four different aspects of an ongoing probe, looks to be in big big trouble in the wake of the Michael Scanlon indictment.

Jesse of Stakeholder has a round-up of today's headlines on the apparently-soon-to-be-indicted U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH). Here's what Jesse's found just today at a quick glance:

"Plea Deal Ties Ney to Second Tribe" [Roll Call]

"Rep. Bob Ney is poster boy in bribe probe" [AP]

"Ney's Troubles Are Mounting" [Roll Call]

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Little-Known, but Powerful U.S. Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) up to Eyeballs in DeLay, Abramoff, Corruption Probe
Tied to Gambling, Illegal Favors and TeleCom 'Election' Fixing Investigations...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2005 12:57pm PT  

In an extremely detailed 2891-word page one Washington Post report today by James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt, Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) is tied to at least four different aspects of ongoing probes being carried out by criminal investigators looking into the corruption of GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay --- both of whom have been indicted recently on charges relating to the various investigations.

Ney has not yet been indicted, but the WaPo exposé ties him to several different scandals including the SunCruz casino boat fraud/murder investigation (for which Abramoff has recently been indicted), several illegally funded overseas vacations, support of Indian gaming in apparent trade for favors received in the form of cash contributions and other gifts from Abramoff and --- yes --- the apparent "fixing" of an election administered by Ney of telecommunications companies to determine who would receive a large contract at the U.S. Capital building.

Ney is chairman of the powerful U.S. House Administration Committee. BRAD BLOG readers will remember Ney's committee as holding a "show hearing" earlier this year on "Election Irregularities in Ohio" during the 2004 Presidential Election. That hearing, which attempted to whitewash the thousands of troubling reports calling the Ohio election into question, called just one witness from a "voting rights" group. That witness turned out to be Mark F. "Thor" Hearne of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), self-described "non-partisan" organization which had appeared out of the blue just days prior to the hearing. Hearne, identified himself in the hearings as a "long time voting rights advocate", but failed to mention that he was actually the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. The other "non-partisan" founder of ACVR was Jim Dyke, former RNC Communcations Director, and recently installed White House spokesman for Dick Cheney.

(BRAD BLOG's full special coverage of ACVR, the so-called "non-partisan" GOP front group masquerading as a "voting rights" organization, can be found here.)

The WaPo story reports that Ney is currently "under investigation by Florida federal prosecutors looking into Abramoff's acquisition of SunCruz, according to sources familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

Excerpts from the full WaPo report follow...

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

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Ohio Republican Who Ought to Recognize Phony 'Front Groups' Claims to have Been Duped by Phony 'Front Group'
Blames Abramoff, Indian Tribes and Democrat Christopher Dodd. Another Republican in favor of personal responsibility we guess.
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2005 9:37am PT  

An excellent article just out from June's The American Prospect suggests that Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH), one of the sponsors of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is now under Dept. of Justice investigation for his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the money received from the Tigua Indian tribe to finance a golf trip, like Tom Delays, to Scotland.

Our good friend, Tom Feeney, by the way, was also on one of those Scotland Golf Trips. Just thought it worth mentioning.

The Prospect article outlines in detail in how Ney had used Christopher Dodd (D-CT), without Dodd's knowledge, to suggest that the two of them would be able to add a rider to HAVA which would be favorable to the Tigua Indian tribe. Of course, Dodd never seems to have been a party to any of this.

Ney, who chairs the House Administration Committee, recently held hearings on the Ohio Election 2004 mess during which --- as originally reported by BRAD BLOG --- he invited friends from the phony GOP front group calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights to testify, and yet the Prospect article reports that he claims to have been fooled by an Abramoff front group in relation to the trips he was purchased:

Ney first tested his "innocent victim" line after the Senate hearings on the Tigua fraud. Attacking Abramoff and Scanlon as "nefarious individuals," he proclaimed, "I, like these Indian tribes and other members of Congress, was duped by Jack Abramoff." He explained that the lobbyist had invited him "to go on a trip to Scotland, which Mr. Abramoff said would help support a charitable organization, that he founded, through meetings with Scottish Parliament officials."

That charitable outfit was the Capital Athletic Foundation, an Abramoff front. Why Ney would have to go golfing in Scotland or visit the Parliament there to assist an American-based charity remains an unsolved mystery --- as does his interest in sponsoring legislation for a Texas tribe far from his rural Ohio district.

But Abramoff and his associates had raised money for Ney from 2000 through 2003, providing the use of a luxury skybox at Washington's MCI Center to host a fund-raising event. The helpful congressman had also supported Abramoff and Adam Kidan, the lobbyist's business partner, in their effort to buy a Florida gambling cruise line. The sale went through, but the cruise line's original owner was killed gangland-style after fighting with Kidan, who has alleged ties to organized crime. Ney has since claimed that he was misled about Kidan's background, too.

That "Florida gambling cruise line" which led to an apparent "gangland-style" hit was Suncruz, as reported in excrutiating detail in a Washington Post piece last week.

As is the norm these days, Ney is attempting to deny knowing who actually paid for the trip, yet the Prospect reports:

In June, Abramoff wrote to Schwartz again: "Our friend [Ney] asked if we could ? cover a Scotland golf trip for him and some staff ? and members in August," just like the trip DeLay had taken two years earlier.

And finally --- even after Ney knew full well that Dodd wanted nothing to do with the Indian Tribe legislation --- he invited members of the tribe to the Capitol for a meeting to thank them for the trip, and to act as if he was still hoping to pass their dead-in-the-water legislation:

Ney went on and on for well over an hour, schmoozing with his guests and praising free enterprise. At the end, he even walked them out so they could use the reserved members' elevator. "That last act sealed the deal," recalls Schwartz. "He was very friendly and won us over." Today, Schwartz says, "To raise the hopes of a tribal people when he knew the deal was dead leaves me no doubt that he is a heartless individual devoid of integrity."

The hopes of the Tigua evaporated in October 2002, when Abramoff called to say that Dodd had purportedly decided to renege on his support of the tribe's legislation, supposedly out of anger that his own bill to reform Connecticut tribal recognition was defeated in the Senate.

The Dodd bill provided a perfect cover story --- and in his best David Mamet tough-guy style, Abramoff called Schwartz on his cell phone to complain. "Dodd fucked us!" he said. "Ney is fuming that the bastard went back on his word. We were fucked by a Democrat!"

Using Dodd as a scapegoat for the legislation would was never to have been placed in HAVA, Ney then claims to have been willing to "let election reform die" in retaliation:

Dodd's supposed support was always a phony pipe dream that Ney and Abramoff sold to the Indians. At the Senate hearing last year on the Tigua mess, Dodd released a statement explaining that he hadn't even learned about the Tigua proposal until very late in the process. "Congressman Ney's staff," said the senator, "did approach my office during the waning hours of negotiations over the HAVA legislation to inquire whether recognition provisions for the Tigua tribe could be included in the bill. The suggestion was summarily rejected."

Nevertheless, a few days after the crushing October defeat for the tribe, Abramoff arranged for Ney to speak to the tribal council by conference call to offer his condolences for the legislative failure. Schwartz says that Ney told the council about a supposed conversation with Dodd. "I begged him to put it back in," said Ney. "I'm apologizing for us in Congress, but he went back on his word. I was so disappointed. ? I almost decided to let election reform die."

How filthy can these guys get? Stay tuned...

(Hat tip Jesse over at Stakeholder for the link tip!)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2005 3:42pm PT  

The National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II gave testimony on behalf of his three-day old "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) last Monday at a U.S. Congressional Hearing. He represented the only "Voting Rights" group at the hearing --- called by Republican Bob Ney (R-FL), Chairman of the U.S. House Administration Committee --- purportedly investigating the '04 Ohio Presidential Election mess.

Hearne didn't bother to mention that he worked for Bush/Cheney '04 as their top attorney in his testimony. We're not positive, but fairly certain that no high-level Kerry/Edwards employees were invited to testify, whether they represented a phony "non-partisan" group like the ACVR or not.

Despite the claims of tax-exempt non-partisan status by this Talon News-like outta-nowhere GOP front group, the two known ring-leaders (that we've been able to identify so far) of this phony "Voters Rights" organization masquerading as if they are not-an-insult-to-real-Voters-Rights-groups-everwhere, are both currently veryactive partisans.

Jim Dyke, the group's press spokesman and website administrative and technical contact who, as well as being the 2004 Communications Director for the Republican National Committee, is also a current Fox News GOP Analyst according to Joseph Cannon (though he mentioned to us that, so far, he was unable to confirm that information). He does, however, offer a fine analysis of just one of the likely true missions for this group, and why they have suddenly appeared. And for the record, Cannon made note of this nascient and suspicious ACVR popping up the day before we did!

Meanwhile, Ron Brynaert, a frequent BRAD BLOG commenter, and editor of Why Are We Back in Iraq? has been digging into more on our friend Thor (here and then here) and has uncovered, amongst other chestnuts, Hearne's featured speaking engagement at the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) shindig down at the Florida Chapter's 2005 kick-off on April 14th!

According to the Republican Party-sponsored RNLA's website...

The RNLA is pleased to announce the Florida RNLA Chapter's 2005 Kickoff Reception featuring special guest speaker Thor Hearne, Counsel to Bush Cheney '04 Inc. This Reception will honor the lawyer volunteers who worked diligently in the 2004 elections to ensure that the voters, not the courts decided the election.

The Coral Gables reception --- where they will no doubt continue the fiction that it was voters not lawyers who who decided the election --- is said to be "free" on the RNLA website! Wanna go and say hello to the non-partisan Thor and his Republican National Lawyers Association friends? The website says, "Please RSVP by emailing despain@republicanlawyer.net or calling 703-719-6335 by April 12th"

We might suggest you actually call or email prior to April 12th, as we have a feeling this "free" event is about to become a very closed-to-the-public event.

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR 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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Describes Himself as 'Advocate of Voter Rights' But Not as Bush/Cheney '04 General Counsel!
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2005 4:58pm PT  

Monday's testimony to a U.S. House Committee by Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, the leader of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) --- who also happens to be the National Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc. --- has just been added to the website of the "non-partisan", tax-exempt, one-week old "Voting Rights" group.

In his testimony, Hearne failed to mention to the U.S. House members, either his connection to Bush/Cheney or his long roots in the Republican party going back to the Reagan Administration. The testimony was given last Monday to the U.S. House Administration Committee at hearings held on the Ohio Election problems. The hearings to which Hearne was invited were held just 3 business days after the ACVR suddenly appeared for the first time on the Internet...or anywhere else that we've been able to find. More on that here.

In Hearne's testimony, as seen via the page posted today on the ACVR's website [UPDATE 2007: the testimony may now be found here in the Interenet archives, since ACVR has deleted their site], he describes himself as a "a longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experience in election law". No mention of his long-term pedigree as a high-level GOP operative...

Testimony of Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II
Committee On Administration
Columbus, Ohio --- April 21, 2005 [ed note: Misdated on the website]
Chairman Ney, Members of the House Administration Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today.

My name is Thor Hearne. I am a principle in the law firm of Lathrop & Gage and a longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experienced in election law. I was appointed a member of the Missouri HAVA advisory committee advising the Missouri Secretary of State on Missouri's implementation of HAVA and suggesting appropriate amendments to Missouri election law.

Today I am here in my capacity as counsel to the American Center for Voting Rights. The ACVR is a non-partisan watchdog ? voting rights legal defense and education center committed to defending the rights of voters and working to increase public confidence in the fairness of the outcome of elections. I am joined in this endeavor by the almost a dozen Ohio lawyers from several of this states' prestigious law firms that have submitted a report detailing concerns that have come to our attention in connection with the Ohio 2004 general election...

The rest of his testimony is available at the ACVR website. [UPDATE 2007: ACVR's website has been removed from the Internet, browse their old site here via the Internet Archives.]

Here again is a photo of Hearne taken a few weeks ago at a Republican National Lawyers Association reception in Ohio:

We've learned more about both the mysterious outta-nowhere election experts at the ACVR and Mr. Hearne's "non-partisan" activities which we hope to report later this evening as we've got to do a couple of radio interviews for the next several hours, beginning in just a few minutes.

So check back shortly, and for now...we'll just say...DEVELOPING...

UPDATE: The ACVR National Headquarters! Uncovered! BRAD BLOG has the exclusive photographs!

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR 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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Um...Sort of.
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2005 5:43pm PT  

Today we attempted to get some more information about the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), a group who suddenly appeared on the Internet last Thursday. On Monday, they gave testimony to U.S. Congressman Bob Ney's (R-OH) House Administrative Committee during hearings held in Columbus, OH on the 2004 Election mess in the state.

(Please see this previous BRAD BLOG article for the emerging background on this supposedly "non-partisan" tax-exempt organization which was the only such "Voting Rights" group invited to give testimony at the hearings. And, oh yes, every single name attached to this group so far seems to also be attached to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and/or the Republican National Committee and/or the Ohio Republican party.)

Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II --- the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. --- gave testimony for the group and is listed on the U.S. House Administrative Committee website as simply "National Counsel, American Center for Voting Rights". No mention of his current high-level connections to Bush/Cheney and his long history of working with other powerful Republican officials all the way back to his time working for the Reagan Administration.

We called him this morning to see if we could ask him a few questions about the ACVR, his involvement as their apparent-organizer and his role as lead contributor for the 31-Page report [PDF] on the Ohio Election produced by the ACVR in time for Monday's hearings.

Hearne's response, "Not right now...Send me some information about who you're involved with and I'll give you a call back."

We persisted nonetheless, and asked if he could describe any of the "voter education and outreach" programs which the "About Us" page at the ACVR website describes as one of their activities. Or if he could tell us about any of the "symposiums and conferences" the group claims to be sponsoring as also mentioned on the site.

His response, "We certainly anticipate those. You keep an eye on our website."

We pressed on...

BRAD BLOG: How is it that you guys were invited to testify for a U.S. House Committee hearing after just forming so recently?

MARK F. (THOR) HEARNE, II: You'd have to ask the [House] committee...

BB: But to be invited as the only such organization so quickly after being formed? How did that happen?

HEARNE: I couldn't tell you. We're out here doing what we're doing and we accepted the offer.

He was, indeed, rather terse in the answers to our attempted questions, and so we wondered why he didn't wish to be more forthcoming about his "non-partisan" group.

"Sounds to me like your coming from the Left," he told us.

We informed him that --- though we think didn't think any of our questions were particularly partisan or Left-like --- he might well say that we are indeed coming from the Left. Nonetheless, we consider free and fair elections to be a non-partisan issue. As his website claims to be a non-partisan organization, we figured he wouldn't mind answering some questions about it.

Mr. Hearne told us to "Email me some information on who you are and I'll get back to you."

We have done so and look forward to his call and a report here on his answers to some of our many concerns.

Next we tried a call to Jim Dyke who is listed as the "contact" in a press release issued Monday by AVCR.

Dyke, we have subsequently learned, also happened to have been the Communications Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2004 Election.

Perhaps he would be more open with us about this nascient group and their seemingly newfound concern for "Voting Rights" in America. Indeed, Dyke was much more willing than was Hearne to speak at length with us...

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

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