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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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Ohio's Former U.S. Congressman, Author of Help America Vote Act, Loses Voting Privileges as Felon, Keeps $29,000 Annual Congressional Pension...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 9:55am PT  

It's now just over a year to the day since we first described the now-disgraced and now-former Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) as the "Soon-to-be-Indicted Bob Ney" in our exposé connecting the dots between him, his former Chief of Staff turned Diebold's top lobbyist on Capitol Hill, David DiStefano, Jack Abramoff's Greenburg Traurig firm and the whole Help America Vote Act (HAVA) sham which Ney pushed through Congress via his crooked chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Back then, few had heard of him. But today, Ney was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in the federal pen after pleading guilty to "illegally accepting trips, meals, drinks, tickets to concerts and sporting events and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for official acts performed for lobbyist Abramoff and his clients."

Ney's long-overdue trip up the river comes despite defense pleas for mercy and sentencing to rehab in light of their claims that it was the evil bottle that dunnit. As ever, Ney continues to avoid taking responsibility. Happily, the judge didn't buy it. Oh, well. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

As a felon, Ney will no longer be able to vote in the state of Ohio, even as America will be stuck with his disastrous and cynical HAVA legislation for years. And despite House Democrats' plans to remove pensions for convicted members, apparently the action will not be retroactive. So Ney will get to retain his $29,000 annual pension from the House. Forever. Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, another one bites the dust. Now, about the soon-to-be-indicted George W. Bush...

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Fantastic Quotes Abound At Today's Ethics Reform News Conference
By Alan Breslauer on 1/8/2007 12:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer




This is a beautiful thing! Democratic Senators hit Republicans hard for their six year ethical lapse during today's ethics reform news conference. While it's too early to get excited about anything yet, especially with Iraq looming large, even the prospect of a government for the people is exciting. Plus, my smile made an appearance for the first time in recent memory.

The video (8:44) starts with Harry Reid (D-Nevada) laying out some of the key points of the proposed legislation followed by Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Barack Obama (D-Illinois), Claire McCaskill (D- Missouri), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) who kills, Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Magical.

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Susan Ralston, One Time Abramoff Colleague, Was Also White House 'Liason' to Bush/Cheney '04 Campaign...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2006 3:11pm PT  

From Reuters...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An aide to top White House political adviser Karl Rove resigned in the fallout over a congressional report showing many White House contacts with ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Last week's report by the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee said Rove aide Susan Ralston had passed inside White House information to Abramoff while she was also accepting his tickets to as many as nine sports and entertainment events.

More detailed AP coverage now here...

UPDATE 3:39pm PT: Back in early January of this year, VelvetRevolution.us ran an article on Ralston calling on her to fess up to authorities concerning information she has on the 2004 Presidential Election "Miracle"...

SUSAN RALSTON, ASSISTANT TO JACK ABRAMOFF, KARL ROVE AND GEORGE BUSH, KNOWS EVERYTHING

If someone were to ask who the key to the Republican corruption vault is, Susan Ralston's name would be at the top of many lists. She has been the personal assistant to serial briber Jack Abramoff and serial leaker Karl Rove. She is also a special assistant to George Bush. According to RAW STORY, Mrs. Ralston has been repeatedly called to testify before the grand jury investigating Mr. Rove. It appears that she also been called to testify before the Abramoff grand jury because she was in charge of his skybox giveaways.

However, there is one event on which she has not yet testified --- the 2004 presidential election. In the accompanying photo, on November 2, 2004, Mrs. Ralston sits next to Karl Rove keeping track of the election results as they came in. We would like to know if there is any truth to the reports that Rove was told that GW was losing the election and so he went to the WH war room to maniulate the votes in a half dozen swing states. Our curiosity is strong because of Mrs. Ralston's duties at the time as White House Liaison to the Bush-Cheney ’04 (BC’04) campaign. "I work on the coordination of all activities between the campaign and the White House, including the Republican National Convention," she told Asian Fortune.

More at VR...

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Lead Sponsor, Author of Help America Vote Act to Serve Jail Time, Says Report
Last Remaining Abramoff Golf Junketeer Not (Yet) Facing Criminal Charges? Congressman Tom Feeney...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2006 7:41pm PT  

We've long been describing Bob Ney as the "Soon-to-be-Indicted Bob Ney". It looks like that day is finally here.

The New York Times is reporting that Ney, the leader sponsor and author of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is headed to jail...

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges related to his dealings with the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, lawyers and others with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.

A guilty plea would make Ney, a six-term congressman, the first member of Congress to confess to criminal charges in the Abramoff investigation, which has focused on the actions of several current and former Republican lawmakers who had been close to the former lobbyist.

People with detailed knowledge of the investigation said Ney had entered an in-patient facility in recent days for treatment of alcoholism, making it uncertain whether he would appear at a court hearing to announce the plea.

We've also long reported on Ney's "good luck" in winning $34,000 at a London casino owned by some good friends...at the exact same moment he owed exactly that much in credit card bills. Says The Times...

Another person familiar with the department’s investigation said that at least one of the criminal charges in Ney’s guilty plea would involve the accuracy of his claim in a House financial disclosure statement that he won $34,000 in a private London casino during a trip in 2003.

The casino winnings had also been under scrutiny by the Justice Department in part because the amount of the winnings coincided to a surprising degree with the amount of debt outstanding on Ney’s credit cards.

With both Ney and former Republican Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-TX) now facing indictments, that means there is only one remaining congress member who went on Jack Abramoff's golf junkets to St. Andrews, Scotland who has yet to be served with criminal charges: Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)

Feeney is currently facing a challenge for his seat by Clint Curtis, the man who has sworn in affidavit, video-taped congressional testimony and polygraph test that Feeney asked him to create vote-rigging software when they both worked at the same computer firm in Florida in 2000 (where Feeney was general counsel and registered lobbyist, even while he was also serving as Speaker of the Florida House).

Anyway, now that Ney is apparently going to jail for his Abramoff-related crimes, can someone other than The BRAD BLOG please look into the hornet's nest surrounding the passage of HAVA, as aided and abetted by Abramoff's old lobbying firm, Greenburg Traurig, and Ney's former chief-of-staff-turned-Diebold-lobbyist, David DeStefano? Pretty please? Here's a nice place to get you started!

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Had Vowed To Fight On, Even If Indicted; Now Says He's Quitting For The Good Of His Family
Flip-Flopper?? ... In the meantime, with DeLay and Ney gone, Tom Feeney is the only remaining congressman to have accompanied Jack Abramoff to Scotland!
By Winter Patriot on 8/7/2006 9:57am PT  



Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

According to ABC News and AP: Bob Ney Won't Seek Re-Election

COLUMBUS, Ohio Aug 7, 2006 (AP)— U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, dogged by an influence peddling probe in Washington, will not seek re-election, state Sen. Joy Padgett said early Monday.

AP writer Joe Danborn has some other details, including:

The six-term congressman from Heath in central Ohio had insisted he would not resign even if indicted over his dealings with now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In his first primary test in a decade, Ney won 68 percent of the vote May 2 against a little-known opponent.

However, he faced a tough challenge in November from Democrat Zack Space, who had made the Justice Department's investigation into Ney a focus of his campaign.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has more, including some quotes from an exclusive interview with Ney: Ney drops out of fall race

Ney has not been charged with a crime, and he insists he did nothing wrong. But his former chief of staff, Neil Volz, who left to join Abramoff's team, pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to use gifts and trips to influence Ney's official activities. Volz said he and other Abramoff associates provided Ney and members of his staff with free or reduced-price trips to England, Scotland and the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.

Who went on that trip to Scotland? Let's see ...

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

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Case Links Ney and Abramoff, a Tribe, a Casino, Millions of Dollars and a Transparent Lie!
So ... What's Wrong With This Picture??? Hold out BOTH hands, Mr. Ney!! Book 'em, Danno!
By Winter Patriot on 7/26/2006 10:33pm PT  



Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

We've been reading some very interesting news today from John Stanton at Roll Call.

Justice Department investigators have begun a review of Senate Rules and Administration Committee records relating to negotiations over the Help America Vote Act, involving then-Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and former House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), as they wrap up their investigation into Ney's connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Senate sources said Tuesday.

Senate aides familiar with the review said Justice officials indicated the inquiry was not focused on Dodd, who now serves as the committee's ranking member, and the type of information investigators were seeking - while not specific enough to indicate they were looking for a smoking gun - appear to point directly at Ney.

The full text is available to Roll Call subscribers only, but we have a few more excerpts after the fold.

Regular BRAD BLOG readers will have have seen this coming a long time ago.

So here's a big hat tip to Brad for being way-ahead-of-the-curve on this...

and now back to our story:

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

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By Joy Williams on 7/18/2006 6:17am PT  

An Exclusive Interview for The BRAD BLOG as Guest Blogged by Joy and Tom Williams...

"The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections."
-- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Recently, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., (bio) , wrote the article: "Was the 2004 Election Stolen" where he examined the election fraud in Ohio that took place during the last Presidential Election. He also has written a book "Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush & His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking our Democracy". Mr. Kennedy, along with Mike Papantonio have filed a "qui tam" lawsuit against some of the voting machines companies, in an effort to save our Democracy.

I've long had a deep respect for Robert F. Kennedy for his dedicated work as an environmental advocate. Tom and I enjoyed interviewing him and were moved by his passion and dedication to our country and our Democracy. We spoke to him via phone at his office at Pace University's Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, New York, which he founded, about the election of 2004. This was an experience to remember...

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

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HAVA Author, Abramoff Buddy, Diebold's Best Friend in Congress, Apparently in Dieb Dieb Doo Doo...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2006 7:38pm PT  

Just one of the many recent, yet notable, items I was unable to cover over the past week...

On Thursday, Roll Call reported that all three of the major staffers for Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), the lead author/co-sponsor of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA), are running for the hills.

The departures are described as "the latest sign that Ney’s legal and ethical troubles stemming from the Jack Abramoff scandal are growing worse with each passing day."

Josh Marshall covered the exits of his "troika" --- his Chief of Staff, Legislative Director and Communications Director --- all scramming on the same day.

We first referred to Ney as "the soon-to-be-indicted" back in January when we published our exposé connecting the dots between Ney, Abramoff, Diebold, HAVA and Ney's even-more-former chief of staff, David DiStefano, who became Diebold's main congressional lobbyist. That exposé has been wholly ignored by the mainstream media ever since. (Except for Matt Taibbi who referenced the info, but without attribution, in an April Rolling Stone piece on Abramoff.)

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By David Edwards on 6/1/2006 9:14am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com


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

Earlier this week, during the trial of David Safavian, photos were released from one of the Abramoff-sponsored golf trips to Scotland. David Safavian is charged with lying to investigators about his relationship with Jack Abramoff.

The photos show Abramoff with some of his "Champions", a term he used to describe people in government who could provide information and assistance to Abramoff's clients. Champions were showered with gifts and trips like the golf trip seen in the released photos.

In the group photo above, Abramoff's Champions are shown prior to boarding the Gulf Stream jet. Neil Volz, pictured on the far left, was chief of staff to Bob Ney. He is considered a star witness for the prosecution. Standing next to Volz is Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. Congressman Bob Ney is 4th from the left. He is the short guy wearing the grey shirt. Jack Abramoff is on the far right.

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown. David Shuster explains the story behind the photos and the lengths to which Abramoff would go to provide favors for his Champions. Shuster also has an update on the status of the Safavian trial.

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...As Ney Chief of Staff Becomes Latest GOP Player to Cop a Plea Today
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2006 2:38pm PT  

Over the weekend, AP reported that email from Tom DeLay's (R-TX) office to Jack Abramoff's office reveals that the indicted former-majority leader was quite aware of who was paying for his $75,000 trip to St. Andrews, Scotland to play golf in 2000.

All of which makes it likely that Bob Ney (R-OH) was similarly aware of who was paying for the lobbyist funded vacation to St. Andrews when he took a similar trip with Abramoff in 2002.

All of which makes it likely that Tom Feeney (R-FL), the third Republican Congressman to take the trip to hit the links in Scotland with Abramoff, he in 2003, was also aware of who was paying for it.

Feeney has done a fine job of flying under the radar on this matter up until now. But with DeLay now down and out, and Ney's chief-of-staff, Neil Volz, copping a guilty plea today --- making him the fourth such criminal to implicate Ney in the vast Right Wing Conspiracy --- we'd think it only a matter of time before the media start noticing Feeney's conspiratorial involvement as well.

Along those lines, a couple of notable pieces from from the Volz plea (courtesy of Paul Kiel over at Muckraker)...

[W]e learn about a new, particularly shameless perk: Abramoff helped pay for a two-night vacation of Ney's, without even bothering to funnel the money through one of his nonprofits. "In or about August 2003," the plea reads, "defendant VOLZ paid for part of a two-night trip to the Sagamore Resort at Lake George, New York, for Representative #1 and members of his staff. Defendant VOLZ assured Representative #1 that defendant VOLZ would be reimbursed for his payments by Abramoff." Apparently Ney didn't want his old chief of staff laying out the bribe - he preffered to get it from a familiar source.

That point may be useful as investigators and/or media take a closer look at Feeney and his other questionable trips, several of which are described here as part of CREW's "13 Most Corrupt" in Congress.

Secondly, Kiel reminds us about Ney's use of his pet bill, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, to help a few of his closest "friends":

We learned from prior plea agreements that Ney agreed to insert a line into the Help America Vote Act that would lift the Texas gaming ban on an Abramoff client, the Tigua tribe.

We've discussed how Ney used his authorship of HAVA and control of the House Administration Committee --- which he chaired until being forced to step down because of all of this --- in the past (almost one full year ago today, as a matter of fact).

More pointedly, however, we've reported on the roll Abramoff and Diebold played along with another former Ney chief-of-staff, David Distefano, in both passing HAVA in the first place, and ensuring it stayed intact as Diebold needed it to.

That story, in which funds were apparently funnelled through to Ney from both Diebold and Abramoff's firm Greenburg Traurig, has also been overlooked by the media in general. If they care to pick up that ball now, they can find a lot of still-uninvestigated open ends in our report right here.

Please feel free to let your media contacts know about both the Feeney issue and the Ney/HAVA/Abramoff issue, since both could use much more scrutiny by many more eyeballs.

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Embattled Incumbent, HAVA Author, Loses 32% of Vote to No-Show Primary Opponent
'Congressional Quarterly' Says Numbers Predict Trouble
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 12:00pm PT  

The soon-to-be-indicted lead pusher of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) had his primary race in Ohio's 18th District tonight. While most congressmen named in four different criminal indictments and convictions would usually be toast, this is, after all, Ohio.

That said, Justin Rood over at TPM Muckraker, had this to say earlier this afternoon about the outlook for Ney tonight...

...Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is expected to win his congressional primary, being held today. His competitor, James Broadbelt Harris, is an unknown who hasn't campaigned --- he hasn't even filed with the FEC, which indicates he has raised less than $5,000, [Congressional Quarterly's] Greg Giroux tells me.

I called Giroux to get his take on the election. While he expects Ney to win, he said, he's curious about what kind of "protest vote" Republicans in the district will cast for Harris, reacting to Ney's ethical troubles.

"I'd be surprised if Harris got more than 20 or 25 percent," Giroux told me. "That would be a sign that there is a chunk of the Republican base that's disenchanted with the incumbent."

"If Ney gets in the 80s --- and he very well may --- that'd show that at least Republican voters are behind him, and they weren't willing to look at this alternative candidate," Giroux said.

100% of the results are now in from all but 1 of the 16 counties which make up Ohio's fightin' 18th. (Belmont County's results have been stuck at 25.3% for the last several hours, about which I suspect we'll hear more tomorrow. Trouble with those pricey new op-scan machines, Belmont?)

As of 2:13am ET, these are the results from the Ohio SoS website:

If Giroux is correct, it looks like Ney may be in for a tough ride this fall...If he makes it that far without ending up in the slammer.

UPDATE 5/3/06: 100% of counties now reporting in full. Ney: 68.38% Harris: 31.62%

UPDATE 5/4/06: As expected, the reasons for the delayed reporting out of Belmont was due to all manners of mess in counting votes off of their new machines. Here's a description of the mess..

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We Have a Suggestion for a Rock the Prosecutors May Wish to Look Under...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2006 7:21pm PT  

Washington Post is reporting today...

Federal prosecutors signaled this week that they have decided to pursue a wide range of allegations about dealings between Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, rather than bringing a narrowly focused bribery case against the congressman.

As long as the investigation is widening into Ney's wrongdoing with Abramoff and friends, might we suggest the prosecutors look into this part of it.

Thanks!

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More MSM Coverage of BRAD BLOG Reporting...Same Lack of Appropriate Attribution...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2006 2:55pm PT  

Before I register my complaint here with Matt Taibbi's otherwise excellent article on the background of "Mr. Republican" Jack Abramoff and "The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington," as published in the April 6th edition of Rolling Stone, I'll point to this smart graf amongst many such smart grafs in a very well-researched and informative piece:

One of the ugliest developments in American culture since Abramoff's obscure Cold Warrior days in the Eighties has been the raging but highly temporary success of various "smart guys" who upon closer examination aren't all that smart. There was BALCO steroid scum Victor Conte ("The smartest son of a bitch I ever met in my life," said one Olympian client), Enron's "smartest guys in the room" Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, and, finally, "ingenious dealmaker" Jack Abramoff. Somewhere along the line, in the years since the Cold War, Americans as a whole became such craven, bum-licking, self-absorbed fat cats that they were willing to listen to these fifth-rate prophets who pretended that the idea that rules could be broken was some kind of earth-shattering revelation --- as though they had fucking invented fraud and cheating. But to a man, they all turned out to be dumb, incompetent fuckups, destined to bring us all down with them --- not even good at being criminals.

Taibbi's piece covers in detail some of the many scams that Abramoff and the rest of the nationwide Republican Network of dishonest, opportunistic players who now comprise the power structure of the Republican party --- or the "vast rightwing conspiracy" as Hillary correctly described it. It's an ugly, but accurate portrait of those who have hijacked all that America was supposed to have stood for while an otherwise distracted and/or media-whipped public was trained to look the other way --- or otherwise give the benefit of the doubt to some very very bad guys who have earned no such benefit.

Those bad guys now run the country, its government, its corporations and its media virtually in its entirety. And more shamefull still, they've got goons played for suckers who are so daft and gullible that, to this day, they run around and play apologist for these people who --- I guess they don't realize it --- are fucking them hard up their own asses with their own hard-earned money and blindly offered good-will. You'll find many of those dopes repeating Fox "News" and Limbaugh-isms over Thanksgiving dinners everywhere, and otherwise plying their foolish and self-destructive trade wherever they can. A stroll through some of the most trollish comments left here at The BRAD BLOG reveals these people have left only the dimmest of connections to Reality as it exists in 2006 on the planet Earth.

With those accolades for Taibbi's work now out of the way, allow me to point to this earlier graf in his piece (emphasis added)...

All along, Abramoff was buying journalists, creating tax-exempt organizations to fund campaign activities and using charities to fund foreign conflicts. He spent the past twenty years doing business with everyone from James Dobson to the Gambino family, from Ralph Reed to Grover Norquist to Karl Rove to White House procurements chief David Safavian. He is even lurking in the background of the 2004 Ohio voting-irregularities scandal, having worked with the Diebold voting-machine company to defeat requirements for a paper trail in elections.

"Lurking in the background" must be MSM code for: Reported by BRAD BLOG but otherwise ignored.

We're glad to see Taibbi pick up on some of our reporting as he writes...

And now it comes out that Diebold, the notorious voting-machine company, paid some $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, with the apparent aim of keeping legislation requiring paper trails in the voting process from getting into the Help America Vote Act. Conveniently, Abramoff pal Bob Ney, one of the HAVA architects, blocked every attempt to put paper trails into law, even after the controversial electoral debacles of 2000 and 2004.

...But it would certainly help to keep such bad guys from affecting so much corruption and damage for so many years before they actually get busted, if Taibbi would be kind enough to point out some of the sources --- independent, alternative, "blog" or otherwise --- who have been trying to blow such whistles for so long.

With appropriate credit and recognition from the mainstream, as we opined a several weeks ago, reporting such as ours and many others would likely have the effect of stopping the bad guys before they manage to wreak quite as much havoc on our once-great American democracy.

We'd hope that even the usually independent-minded Rolling Stone would keep such important points in mind by choosing to give appropriate attribution where possible in their future reporting. As we've said before: It matters.

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Head of 'Non-Partisan' Republican Front Group 'American Center for Voting Rights' Singled Out by Rove
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2006 2:46pm PT  

Working on several items, so we'll defer to RAW STORY's coverage of the story.

Suffice to say, Karl Rove spoke to Republican lawyers this weekend (carried on C-SPAN) and thanked them for their work ensuring "clean elections" in 2000 and 2004.

He singled out Mark F. "Thor" Hearne by name. Hearne was the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. who, along with RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, created the so-called non-partisan "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) just three days before being called to testify before Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) U.S. House Administrative Committee hearing in March of 2005 on the Ohio Election. The front group, which declared tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, has still failed, to our knowledge, to disclose any information of it's funders or proof of their 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan status. They operate out of a PO Box in Houston, TX, though neither of their founders live in Texas.

ACVR was the only "Voting Rights" group called by Ney to testify at the hearings, and identified himself only as a "longtime advocate of voter rights" in his testimony. He failed to mention his connections to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.

Hearne and ACVR have done little more since they opened shop beyond creating propaganda reports to suggest that their is an epidemic of Democratic voter fraud in the country to encourage state legislatures around the country to implement Democratic voter disenfranchising "Photo ID requirements" at the polls. Their charges of a voter fraud epidemic has been roundly disproven in various court cases around the country. (Though it does appear that at least one voter, Ann Coulter, seems to have engaged in voter fraud lately.)

The "non-partisan" Dyke went on to work for the White House to flak for John Roberts during his Supreme Court nomination, and now works out Dick Cheney's office.

Ney, who pushed the so-called "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA) through Congress in 2002 --- the bill which urges all States and Counties in the country to impliment hackable electronic voting machines by 2006 --- recently stepped down from his chairmanship of the House Admin Committee after being named in the on-going Jack Abramoff investigations. His former chief of staff, David DiStefano is Diebold's main lobbyist in congress, as BRAD BLOG reported in January, and Diebold has made thousands of dollars in so-far unexplained payments to Abramoff's old firm, Greeburg Traurig.

See RAW's story for Rove's comments about Hearne and the other "non-partisan" GOP attorneys over the weekend.

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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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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