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'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
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Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
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Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
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Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
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'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
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'Green News Report' 12/2/14
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'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
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'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
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Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
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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
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...


Idiotic Update: Machine 'fixed' and put back online...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012 11:15am PT  

This seems to be the first official video of touch-screen vote-flipping 2012, reportedly captured today in Pennsylvania, where elected officials so disrespect their own voters that they still force almost all of them to vote on these 100% unverifiable systems...

Congrats, and thank you to the voter who was wise enough to capture the problem on his video cell phone! He described the problem this way on the YouTube page where the video was posted:

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

Of course, this same sort of thing has happened every single election since 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting was forced on Americans ten years ago or so, but when it was first heavily reported by Democrats as having happened in 2004 all across the country, Republicans (and elections officials of all parties) called them "conspiracy theorists" and sore losers. Here's just a couple of examples caught on video from 2008. I've even written an entire chapter for Sonoma University's Project Censored book, Censored 2010, about the largely unreported nationwide vote-flipping epidemic during the 2008 election.

This year, it's been the Republicans who have finally decided, wisely, to be concerned about it. Last week, the GOP sent a letter [PDF] to top election officials in six different states, offering bad advice to them about what they should do, after a few unconfirmed complaints of touch-screen votes flipping from Romney to Obama were reported.

We briefly reported on the matter a few days ago this way:

We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Fortunately, it's being reported that the machine seen above has been taken out of service, rather than re-calibrated as so often happens, and as the GOP stupidly requested be done in such instances.

[Update: Mother Jones is now reporting that PA Dept of State officials are saying "they recalibrated the machine, did a test run, and put it back online." That's the dumbest thing they could do. Wonder who "fixed" it?]

All of that said, last night we offered several tips for voting today in ways that might help maximize the chances of your vote being counted and counted accurately. We included these quick tips on WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VOTE FLIPS ON A TOUCH-SCREEN MACHINE:

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 5:35am PT  

[This article has been cross-posted by Salon...]

Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as "uncertified 'experimental' software patches" being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties which service more than 4 million voters Buckeye State voters.

The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's office and ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as "High-level enhancements to ES&S' election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File."

A subsequent story at The Free Press the following day included text said to be from a November 1 memo sent from the OH SoS Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske to a number of state election officials confirming the use of the new, uncertified software on Ohio's tabulator systems. The memo claims that "its function is to aid in the reporting of results" by converting them "into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."

On Friday evening, at Huffington Post, journalist Art Levine followed up with a piece that, among other things, advanced the story by breaking the news that Fitrakis and his attorney Cliff Arnebeck were filing a lawsuit for an immediate injunction against Husted and ES&S to "halt the use of secretly installed, unauthorized 'experimental' software in 39 counties' tabulators". Levine also reported that Arnebeck had referred the matter to the Cincinnati FBI for criminal investigation of what the Ohio attorney describes as "a flagrant violation of the law."

[Update: Details and documents from that lawsuit now here...]

"Before you add new software, you need approval of a state board," says Arnebeck. "They are installing an uncertified, suspect software patch that interfaces between the county's vote tabulation equipment and state tabulators." Arnebeck's alarm is understandable.

Since the story initially broke, I've been trying to learn as much as I could about what is actually going on here. During that time, a few in the mainstream media have gotten wind of the story as well, including NBC News and CNN, and have been able to press Husted and other officials in his office into finally responding to the concerns publicly. The Ohio officials have attempted to downplay the concerns, though in doing so, they appear to have given misleading information which, at times, seems to conflict even with the contract itself.

I've also spoken to computer scientists and election integrity experts, in trying to make sense of all of this, though many of them seem to be scratching their heads as well. My own queries to the Sec. of State's office have gone unanswered, as had Fitrakis' and Bello's before they published their initial story, begging the question as to why, if this software is as benign as Ohio officials are suggesting, they didn't respond immediately to say as much. Furthermore, why did they keep the contract a secret? Why did they wait until just before the election to have this work done? And why did they feel it was appropriate to circumvent both federal and state testing and certification programs for the software in the bargain?

I'd like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday's election --- in which Ohio's results are universally believed to be key to determining the next President of the United States --- preclude that.

So, based on the information I've been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we current know and what we don't, and what the serious concerns are all about.

And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don't know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which SoS Husted's office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they've given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspect and investigate what could be going on. And so I am...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2012 11:31am PT  

[UPDATE 10/24/12: We've now run through the limited number of books and DVDs that we had available. Thank you to those who helped out by donating. Your signed copies of Palast's book and DVD will be on the way to you soon! Thank you! And hopefully I'll be able to find more great premiums to offer in exchange for your support in the near future! Until then, your donations are always very welcome and still very much needed in support of the work we do here. Thank you, as ever. - Brad]

Covering this insane election season 24/7 means that I've had little or no time to try and raise funds to help keep our expenses in even minimal check here. I'm also lousy at it. I'd rather cover and break the news than raise money to help pay for doing it.

As you hopefully know, The BRAD BLOG does not receive any corporate or foundational support. We are 100% independent and need to stay that way. But that also means you guys need to help us out, if we are to keep the lights on here all.

Our muckraking BBC buddy Greg Palast has noticed the bind we're in, and has generously offered to try and help us out once again!

He's given us a limited number of signed copies of his very cool, New York Times best-selling new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (featuring an intro by Bobby Kennedy Jr., a new comic book by Ted Rall called "Tales From the Crypt of Democracy" in the middle of it, and a list of "7 Ways to Beat the Ballot Bandits" at the end) to make available as premium offers to those who contribute $75 or more to The BRAD BLOG right here.

To make sure our readers get a package they can't get anywhere else, he's also helping to sweeten the deal by tossing in his DVD of BBC reports (and more!), called "The Election Files: The Theft of 2008" (Check out the trailer here.)

Again, we don't have a lot of these available, so it's first come first serve. But if you can help us out with a donation of $75 or more, we'll try to get both the signed Palast book (featuring his investigations of "the Koch Gang, Karl Rove, and Their Buck-Buddies") and his DVD off to ya ASAP, so you'll have both before the election!

Best way to get your signed copy of Greg's new book and his DVD is to donate here online with Credit Card or PayPal. (If you work quickly, you can also send a check via snail mail to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028).

My great thanks in advance to any of you who can help us out here and, of course, to the good Mr. Palast!

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By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2012 2:15pm PT  

Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.

"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."

Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.

Hart's announcement of the deal describes H.I.G.'s role as as "co-investors", though the financial services firm which brokered the deal described it in their own announcement as a full-fledged acquisition: "Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital late last week. The deal caps off a 2+ year relationship with Hart! Congrats to both Hart and the HIG team….its going to be a great partnership!"

Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. [Pakman's video is embedded below.]

When the story initially broke, I spoke about it on the radio with Fitrakis, but didn't comment on it at The BRAD BLOG for a number of reasons. One being the time we've been spending, during the same period, consumed by the continuing breaking story of the RNC/Romney consultant Nathan Sproul and his companies at the center of the national GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which we've been covering in detail since it first broke several weeks ago. Secondly, and not to downplay this story, because it's a very good and important one, the fact is that, though the names of the corporate titans and companies are different, it is essentially the same story that we have been telling here, over and over again --- and warning about with hair afire --- at The BRAD BLOG for nearly a decade.

Moreover, I've been on the road all this week for a conference, with much less time online than usual. But since so many folks have picked up on the Romney/Bain/H.I.G./Hart Intercivic stories and have sent email and Twitter queries to me about it, allow me to very quickly share a few thoughts, on this, some of which I sent to a reporter who also raised this issue with me late this week...

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

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Evidence reveals Romney consultant at center of GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal still working for Repubs in 7 10 states
'Issue Advocacy Partners' looks to be clone of Sproul's 'Strategic Allied Consulting'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2012 6:35am PT  

[This article now cross-posted at Salon...]

Questions continue to grow about Nathan Sproul and his various companies' multi-million dollar work for the Republican National Committee, despite claims that they've broken ties with him on the heels of a nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. A virtual clone of his discredited Strategic Allied Consulting firm appears to still be operating on behalf of Republicans in at least 10 states.

At the same time, Democrats in Congress are now asking for official answers from both Sproul and very senior Republicans, according to new letters obtained by The BRAD BLOG.

Sproul went on the record with us, briefly, to address some of these issues in his own defense, before he was ordered by his newly hired crisis response manager to stop speaking to us all together.

When the RNC invested $3 million to hire Strategic Allied Consulting, a company quietly created this August by Sproul, a paid political consultant to Mitt Romney, and then instructed state GOP affiliates in seven key battleground states (FL, NC, VA, NV, CO, WI and OH) to do the same, they knew very well about his companies' long documented history of alleged electoral misconduct and voter registration fraud.

The longtime GOP operative's voter registration and "Get Out the Vote" firms have been accused, during election after election, of destroying and altering Democratic voter registration forms, though no formal charges have ever been filed against him, despite repeated urging from high-ranking members of Congress and others. Sproul's long track record of improprieties was bad enough that before they would give him the contract as their national voter registration group this year, according to Sproul himself, the RNC "asked us to do it with a different company name."

Subsequently, Strategic Allied Consulting is alleged to have collected fraudulent voter registration forms. Some of those forms had the addresses of existing Democratic voters changed so that some of Florida's county election officials now worry that voters could be disenfranchised when they go to the polls this November and find they're no longer registered at their old precinct, or even in the same county. The fraudulent forms were collected by Strategic and submitted by the Florida GOP (which paid Sproul's firm some $1.3 million for voter registration work, their largest single expenditure in the 2012 cycle) in at least 12 different FL counties.

When the RNC then publicly claimed to have "fired" Sproul's new company, after the fraudulent forms came to light, it's likely that the RNC also knew full well that many of their state GOP affiliate organizations were still quietly employing Sproul's firms for partisan work in a number of other states.

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer played dumb about having asked Sproul to create the firm without his name on it --- "To my knowledge, no one requested that" --- though Sproul told The BRAD BLOG during an on the record conversation, eventually aborted by his recently hired crisis manager David Liebowitz, that he stands by his assertion.

"I'm not going to comment on this further," Sproul told us when we'd asked for specifics, since the RNC appeared to be calling him a liar, "but I'm not retracting my prior comments either."

Perhaps even more disturbing is the evidence suggesting that his companies are still operating in states around the country under different names. That, despite the RNC's claims to have "severed our relationship" with Sproul, and the assertion that they "acted swiftly and boldly" to cut ties with the group only after the allegedly fraudulent registration forms came to light in Florida (and as Democratic registration forms were also alleged to have been destroyed by Strategic workers in other states, such as Colorado and Nevada.)

When we asked Sproul directly: "Do your other companies still work for the RNC or other state or local parties?", his response came back as a blunt, "No."

In a response to a follow-up query, when we asked Sproul to explain evidence suggesting that his companies were, in fact, still operating elsewhere on behalf of Republicans, he walked back his original denial a bit.

"I know you have additional questions, including many about SAC [Strategic Allied Consulting] and its affiliates and work we've done in other places and for other clients," Sproul said. "Those questions fall either outside the bounds of what I can discuss or outside the bounds of where I'm comfortable going in this story. I hope you'll understand."

And yet, as still more evidence is emerging to show that Sproul may have been less than forthcoming in some of his responses to The BRAD BLOG (he has refused to respond to additional, specific follow-up queries on this emerging evidence, after Liebowitz was brought on board as his crisis spokesperson), Congressional Democrats have similar questions about Sproul's work with the GOP and if it may be continuing even now.

Senior Democratic members of the U.S. House Elections, Judiciary and Oversight Committees seeking answers --- from Sproul, RNC Chair Reince Priebus, as well as GOP heavies Karl Rove and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (now a senior adviser to Romney) who founded one of the top Republican Super PACs and paid Sproul some $750,000 for unspecified work --- about what Sproul's operations may still be up to, despite the RNC's recent public, if unsupported, claim of a "zero tolerance" policy for election fraud and those who practice it...

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

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Firm owned by notorious GOP operative Nathan Sproul, accused of destroying Democratic registration forms in years past, hired 'at request of RNC', still operating in several key swing states...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2012 2:23am PT  

[This article now cross-posted at Salon...]

The Republican Party of Florida's top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections.

The firm appears to be another shell company of Nathan Sproul, a longtime, notorious Republican operative, hired year after year by GOP Presidential campaigns, despite being accused of shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states over several past elections.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Strategic Allied Consulting has been paid some $667,000 this year by the FL GOP, presumably to run its voter registration campaigns in the state. That number, however, does not account for another identical payment made in August. The Palm Beach Post is reporting tonight that the firm received "more than $1.3 million" from the Republican Party of Florida "to register new voters."

The firm is not only tied to the FL GOP, but also to the Mitt Romney Campaign, which hired Sproul as a political consultant late last year, despite years of fraud allegations against his organizations in multiple states.

Moreover, the firm is also reportedly operating similar voter registration operations on behalf of the Republican Party, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a number of key battleground states this year, including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. Strategic Allied has recently taken steps to hide their ownership by Sproul's notorious firm, Sproul & Associates.

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this evening that she turned over 106 suspicious voter registration applications to the Florida State Attorney during a meeting yesterday afternoon in Palm Beach, after the "questionable" applications were submitted to her office by a worker for Strategic Allied.

The forms were said to all have similar signatures, changed addresses and party affiliations, and other defects which appear to have all been done by the same hand.

The case emerging in Florida tonight mirrors a similar incident reported earlier this year when more than a thousand fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in to the Sacramento County, CA Registrar of Voters by a group hired by that state's Republican Party.

But that's not the only similar case, as a massive GOP voter registration scheme, which appears to involve the upper-echelons of the national party, begins to emerge...

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

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Republican Jon Husted rescinds Directive after being summoned to personally appear before judge...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2012 2:55pm PT  

Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has apologized to a U.S. District Court judge who ruled against him last week, after the Secretary appeared to have tried to undermine the court's ruling, pending an appeal by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The apology came in a motion today, after Husted was ordered by the judge to personally appear for a hearing next week.

As we reported last Friday, U.S. District Judge Peter Economus ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party, finding that Ohio's restriction on Early Voting in the final three days before the election --- for all but active-duty military --- was a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

In his ruling [PDF], Economus ordered the Secretary of State to restore Early Voting "on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible voters," just as it had been successfully implemented during the 2008 election, as the previous Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, described to us during a recent interview. At the same time, the judge had also instructed the Buckeye State's current Secretary to "direct all Ohio elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days, in keeping with [Husted's] earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio's election process is 'uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.'"

In response, rather than issuing a directive with uniform hours for voting in those three days before the November Presidential election, Husted issued a Directive on Tuesday notifying the state's 88 county Boards of Election that they should not establish hours for voting in those days, as the state was filing an appeal in the case.

"Announcing new hours before the court case reaches final resolution will only serve to confuse voters and conflict with the standard of uniformity," Husted wrote in the Directive, adding, "I am confident there will be sufficient time after the conclusion of the appeal process to set uniform hours across the state."

This afternoon, after being summoned to court in response to that Directive, Husted rescinded it and the state filed a motion [PDF] apologizing for what was interpreted as him having attempted to place his own personal stay on Economus' order. "The Secretary apologizes to the federal district court for creating that misimpression and has rescinded [the] Directive," the state writes in the motion, which seeks an official stay on the ruling, pending the Sixth Circuit's expedited appeal...

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

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Finds 'arbitrary' restrictions for all but military voters disproportionately harms low-income and minority voters
Decision continues recent spate of federal voting rights victories...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 1:16pm PT  

The recent spate of federal court victories in favor of voting rights across the nation continued today, as a U.S. District Court judge in Ohio sided with Democrats and the Obama campaign, finding that the removal of in-person Early Voting for all voters on the final three days before Election Day in the Buckeye State was an "arbitrary" decision made by the state's Republican lawmakers and Secretary of State.

The removal of in-person Early Voting in those last three days before the election --- when some 100,000 voters had cast their votes in the state during the 2008 Presidential Election --- for all but active-duty military voters, is likely to "irreparably harm" the voting rights of "low-income and minority voters [who] are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days," according to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus [PDF].

The ruling is another major win for Ohio voters, as the judge ruled in favor of the Democratic complaint seeking a temporary injunction on the state's new voting restrictions.

Through a convoluted series of legislative actions by Republican state lawmakers and rulings by Sec. of State John Husted, which we detailed earlier this month, Ohio had restricted Early Voting on the final weekend before the Tuesday election to all but active duty military voters. We also explained in that same article how the Romney campaign --- based on a false assertion initially posited by the Republican propaganda website Breitbart.com and subsequently forwarded loudly by Fox "News" --- argued dishonestly that the Obama campaign was attempting to "undermine" and restrict voting rights of the military, which the GOP nominee described on his Facebook page as an "outrage".

In fact, as the very first paragraph of the Obama complaint [PDF] made quite clear, the Democrats were not attempting to restrict the rights of military voters, but, in reality, suing to "restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day," including for some 900,000 veterans in the state whose rights had similarly been removed by the Ohio Republicans.

Today, the Democrats' argument prevailed in federal court, as Economus found that "Plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis with all Ohio voters, including [active duty military] voters"...

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

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OH Sec. of State Husted quickly becoming more Blackwell than Brunner...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 6:35am PT  

Otherwise valid provisional ballots cast at the wrong precincts in Ohio, through no fault of the voters, must be counted, according to a ruling issued by a federal judge on Monday.

The decision, which otherwise seems like common sense, comes in the wake of tens of thousands of provisional ballots going uncounted after the 2008 Presidential election thanks to a provision in Ohio law which discards such ballots, even in the case where a poll worker has improperly instructed a voter to cast his or her ballot in the wrong place.

The ruling is a defeat for Ohio's Republican Sec. of State who, after working towards inclusiveness and voting rights earlier in his tenure, seems to have taken a hard right turn in many of his decisions of late, as the Presidential Election nears.

As we noted last month, an investigative report by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Barry M. Horstman found that some 40,000 provisional ballots cast in the 2008 general election were never tallied, even though many of them were cast in the right polling place, but at the wrong "precinct" table, as precincts have been combined into the same building over the years in the Buckeye State.

A voter might line up to vote at the wrong table/precinct, for example, only to be told they weren't found on that precinct's voter rolls and, rather than be directed by the poll worker to the correct "precinct", instructed to cast a provisional ballot at that table instead. That vote, before Monday's ruling, under existing Ohio law, would go uncounted. Many of those provisional ballots were cast in predominantly Democratic-leaning counties.

The Enquirer warned in their report last month that "tens of thousands of ballots are likely to be disqualified" once again in the key swing-state, during the 2012 Presidential election unless the provision was changed, as recommended by state election officials after the 2008 election.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, citing Bush v. Gore of all things, ruled against Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted (R), whose spokesman responded: "We respectfully disagree with the judge's ruling and will likely appeal."

Marbley found that Husted's belief that such ballots should not be counted "belies a fundamentally misguided view that the state need not protect the right to vote of individuals who, for any number of reasons, are required to cast a provisional ballot"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2012 8:08pm PT  

With the partisanship heating up in the battle for voting rights in Ohio again this year --- as Republican Sec. of State John Husted actually threatens to fire two Democratic Board of Election officials in Montgomery County for daring to vote in favor of expanded Early Voting hours --- it seemed a good time to check in with the former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D).

All of this comes on the heels of the Obama Administration suing to restore Early Voting for all on the last three days before the election, which Republicans are now allowing only active duty military members in Ohio to do, and after previous rulings by Husted resulted in expanded Early Voting hours in Republican-leaning counties, and no expanded Early Voting hours in the largest Democratic-leaning counties.

Brunner (author of the forthcoming Cupcakes & Courage) joined me on today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio here in Los Angeles and offered some inside skinny on what she did in 2008 to help correct the 2004 disasters that plagued the state during that year's Presidential election debacle under her horrible predecessor, J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) --- who also served as co-chair for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign while serving as the state's chief election official --- and what now seems to be going on under her successor Husted, as he limits Early Voting hours across the entire state, despite the great success it has been up until now for voters there.

She explained the constitutional powers of the Ohio Sec. of State and told me she believes the attempt by Republicans to shorten weekend Early Voting hours --- which were allowed as recently as this year's primary elections in Ohio --- was "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls'," the effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before the election.

The result of all of this right now, as the former Secretary of State understated it during our conversation: "A bit of a donnybrook in Ohio."

I asked for her response to the remark by Doug Preisse, Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party and a member of the county's Board of Elections when he said he felt "we shouldn't contort the voting process to accommodate the urban --- read African-American --- voter-turnout machine." She said she felt that that --- and his response to Democrats' charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote is "bullshit, quote me" --- was all "very unfortunate."

"We're already in a rancorous climate, starting from Congress and the Presidential election on down," she said. "Why stir up the pot and pit voters against each other? Enough of that was done in 2008. There was so much political capital spent in 2008 on whipping up these fake allegations of voter fraud and now four years later, people realize --- what were there, ten cases around the country since 2000? --- this is so unnecessary."

"The bottom line is," she continued, "voting is not a partisan issue. It should never be a partisan issue. Having control of the rules is not political booty. It really should be a place where everyone walks into that room, they drop their partisan cloak, they stand up, they act like grown-ups, and they say 'Let's do what's fair, because our future depends on it.'"

All of that, and more, follows in today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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Mainstream media fall for yet another Breitbart hoax...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2012 6:35am PT  

No, the Obama Campaign is not attempting to keep military voters from voting, no matter how much the Romney Campaign and their surrogates in the media and on Fox "News" are willing to shamelessly lie about it for ugly partisan purposes at the expense of electoral democracy.

The whole story appears to have begun as little more than another hoax by the Andrew Breitbart scam artists and, as always, the mainstream corporate media have fallen for it, as if it's a legitimate story. So here's what's actually going on, since the MSM seems incapable of explaining to you.

Following the disastrous, partisan and arguably criminal oversight of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio by then Republican Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (in any other era in our nation's history, people would have gone to jail for what happened there), when a wildly and purposefully disparate distribution of voting machines led to Election Day voting lines of anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, mostly in Democratic-leaning jurisdictions, reforms were enacted to make it easier for all voters to cast their legal vote in the Buckeye State.

After the 2004 debacle, the law was changed in 2005 to allow for any voter to vote by absentee ballot, without an excuse, including by "early in-person absentee voting" at polling places in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters took advantage of this new opportunity to cast their vote, helping to radically increase turnout, including during Early and Absentee voting in subsequent years:

In the 2008 election, in the three days prior to Election Day, some 93,000 voters in the state took advantage of their ability to cast a vote over the weekend just before the Tuesday election. Many of those voters, according to a University of Akron study of Early Voting in Ohio [PDF], were voters who might have trouble voting on Election Day, because they were working that day, or were elderly and unable to wait in long lines. African American churches encouraged voters to head to the early polls after church on the Sunday before the election, during a so-called "Souls to the Polls" effort.

This, Republicans legislators in Ohio determined, had to be stopped. And so they did. Or tried to, by passing HB 194, shortening the period of early voting for all Buckeye State voters, and adding other restrictions to make it more difficult for legal voters to cast their legal vote and have it counted.

The people of Ohio then rose up against HB 194 by turning in almost 100,000 more signatures than the number required to forestall the implementation of the new voting restrictions and to place the law --- which had passed on party lines by the Republican-controlled legislature before being signed by the state's Republican Governor John Kasich --- onto the November 2012 ballot, where the people could decide whether or not they wanted the new restrictions on voting rights.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that November 2012 Referendum. The state Republicans came up with a bit of a work around, at least for active duty military voters (who, we are told, tend to vote Republican, rather than Democratic). And while the Obama Campaign and fellow Democrats are busy trying to ensure that all voters, not just active duty military voters in Ohio get to enjoy Early Voting in those three days before the Election, the Romney Campaign has continued their extraordinary record of simply lying about everything.

That's not a partisan observation. That's just a fact. And for anyone in the media to suggest otherwise, in regard to this story, amounts to little more than journalistic malpractice at very best, and, more accurately, an insidious act of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" at the expense of the very core of our (small "d") democratic system of governance.

Such insidious acts of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" is, of course, what the folks at the late con-man Andrew Breitbart's website do best...

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

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Long history of Republican registration fraud continues, dwarfs allegations against ACORN workers
UPDATE: Over 7,500 bad cards from GOP's firm since September...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2012 3:44pm PT  

You're unlikely to hear a peep about this on Fox "News" (unless they happen to have me on), but the California Secretary of State's Election Fraud Division is now reportedly investigating a firm hired by the Sacramento County Republican Party said to have submitted thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms.

According to a report today from Sacramento ABC affiliate News10 [see video posted below], a private, for-profit firm calling itself Momentum Political Services, hired by the local Republican Party "to boost GOP registration ranks in key battleground communities" has turned in more than 3,100 invalid voter registration cards during their recent drive.

[UPDATE 5/7/12: According to Sacramento Bee's 5/5/12 report, the number of bad registration forms is much higher than 3,100. The paper reports that since September, out of some 31,000 cards turned in by Momentum Political Services, "at least one-fourth of them have been thrown out because of inaccuracies," according to the Sacramento Registrar of Voters. That puts the questionable registrations from the GOP's company at more than 7,500.]

Voter registration forms have allegedly been turned in with fake addresses, voter names that don't exist, duplicate Social Security numbers, and party affiliations that seem to have been changed "by someone" to Republican. The head of the firm has admitted she has hired workers with criminal backgrounds, as found via Craigslist.

The charges of serial voter registration fraud sound very similar to those leveled in 2008 against another outfit hired by the California State GOP to register Republican voters before that year's Presidential election. In that case, the head of the firm was arrested, and eventually pleaded guilty to voter registration charges himself.

In 2006, another firm hired by the CA Republican Party turned in thousands of registration forms with fake names and an error rate as high as 60 percent. And in 2004, a firm hired by the GOP was investigated in a number of states for shredding Democratic voter registrations and tossing them into dumpsters. Despite those allegations, the same folks were later hired by the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008 to run voter registration drives before the Presidential election.

Of course, you probably haven't heard of any of those stories, even while you've heard plenty about a handful of ACORN workers --- no actual ACORN officials, mind you, and they were never hired by the Democratic Party, and never led to a fraudulent vote --- turning in fraudulent registration forms in past years.

But nobody who ever worked for the non-profit ACORN has ever been accused of what these Republican firms continue to do on behalf of the Republican officials who hire them, paying them per Republican registration, year after year, as is once again apparent in the allegations surfacing today against Momentum Political Services...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2011 1:32pm PT  


"The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation." - President Jimmy Carter
(Inaugural Address, 1/20/1977)

Oh, well. It was a nice idea at the time.

Nonetheless, happy 87th birthday (yesterday), Mr. President!

[Hat-tip @WestWingReport.]

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And a word about Ensign's scofflaw replacement Sen. Dean Heller...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2011 2:33pm PT  

We don't usually offer much space here to sex scandals, unless, in some cases, they demonstrate, for example, blatantly offensive hypocrisy in regard to everyone else's civil rights (talking to you, disgraced former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)) --- or, as in the case of disgraced now-former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), charges of blatant criminality.

The details out of the bi-partisan, unanimously approved 68-page report released late yesterday by the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee --- which usually does absolutely nothing --- referring the Ensign case to the Dept. of Justice and the FEC for criminal prosecution are stunning, and much worse than previously understood.

In their letter to the DoJ [PDF] the Committee's Chair and Vice-Chair, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) respectively, refer the matter...

[S]howing that Senator Ensign and others:

  • aided and abetted violations of the one-year post-employment contact restriction,
  • conspired to violate that restriction,
  • made false statements to the Federal Election Commission,
  • violated campaign finance laws, and
  • obstructed the Committee's preliminary inquiry.

But even that damning summary of wrong-doing fails to adequately describe the offensive squalor at the heart of this mess, as you'll see below.

Moreover, another reason worth mentioning the whole scandal here: there may be at least one scofflaw still on the loose in regards this matter, still serving in the U.S. Senate --- namely, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of the very few involved in this extraordinarily ugly, sad and shameful scandal to have, so far, gotten off largely scot-free despite his apparent role in attempting to cover it all up for his friend Ensign.

Finally, there is still one more reason to mention all of this: to highlight the fact that Ensign has now been replaced in the U.S. Senate by the scofflaw, and lying, former NV Secretary of State Dean Heller. Be sure to read on below for details on him and how he too has been allowed to avoid accountability for years despite having, in 2004, illegally certified the 100% unverifiable e-voting systems now used across the state of Nevada (and also used to elect him to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.)

Rachel Maddow did a fine job of summarizing the remarkable Senate Ethics Committee report on Ensign on Thursday night, so we'll happily allow her to do so again below, as we're buried in several other stories ourselves at the moment...

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

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The hornets' nest of corruption binding the embattled WI Supreme Court Justice with Scott Jensen, Kathy Nickolaus and the criminal misuse of state employees for partisan gain...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/25/2011 11:58am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning with Brad Friedman

"This was a decisive election about judicial independence," WI Supreme Court Justice David Prosser said at a press conference in Madison last Monday, declaring victory and explaining his opposition to a recount of the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

"The people realized that judges should be much more than partisan politicians who wear black robes. Judges should be impartial in theory and in fact. They should faithfully apply the law without fear, and without favor," he told the assembled media.

However, as an investigation by The BRAD BLOG reveals, there is a stunning gap between the lofty ideals of "independence" espoused by the incumbent Justice as quoted above, and the sordid reality of his own personal record as a hard-Right partisan official in Wisconsin, with the state's GOP caucus, and even during his role as a justice on the state's highest court.

It is a reality, well-documented through court records and other sources, finding Prosser and his former Republican colleagues in the WI Assembly enmeshed in a criminal scheme to utilize state employees and resources at taxpayer expense in order to finance and organize WI GOP political campaigns. A reality which includes an astounding legal filing by this same sitting Supreme Court Justice in which he not only acted as an advocate for the accused, but even confessed to his own participation in the alleged crime.

In short, it's a reality which led The BRAD BLOG to wonder whether Prosser was truly better characterized as an 'independent' jurist, as per his self-description, or a partisan criminal in a robe...

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

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