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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 23, 2014
Ryan Ignores, Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 Presidential hopeful has charming way of winning friends and influencing elderly voters in FL...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Huh?! It wasn't. Is this another 'oops' moment from the Republican TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
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Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; New solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Previous GNRs: 8/19/14 - 8/14/14 - Archives...
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The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Brad...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
KS Sec. of State and long-time GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumps coal, breaks solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams denier 'nutcases'...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
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Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
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Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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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...

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...

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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...

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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Univ. of Missouri's Jeffrey Milyo Can't Recall Name of Thor's ACVR-Funded Group That Funded His Photo ID/Indiana Study
'An organization called the Center for Ethics Research, or Something Like That,' Says Academic When Asked Who Gave Him Grant Money...
By Howard Beale on 3/13/2008 1:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri...

Thor Hearne and his phony White House/GOP "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) front group may be officially disbanded, but that simply means their still mysteriously-funded, tax-exempt scam to push for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places around the country continues beneath the radar and by occasionally different names. Same anti-democracy thugs. Same money. A few less discredited (so far) names.

One of those names was front and center yesterday during a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, as the huckster Hearne could be heard faintly in the distance, still pulling the strings.

When the U.S. Senate's Committee on Rules and Administration held a hearing yesterday to discuss whether Photo ID Voting Laws lead to disenfranchisement, University of Missouri academic Jeffrey Milyo was among those who were present to give testimony.

The primary reason for Milyo's inclusion in the panel was his recent publication of a study purporting to show that restrictive photo ID voting laws had no adverse effect on voter turnout in 2006 elections in Indiana. Never mind that voter turnout is not necessarily indicative of whether or not voters were disenfranchised by such laws or not. More to the point, for the moment, while Milyo's testimony poured forth easily for the committee when he was talking about his contention that Photo ID laws do not disenfranchise voters, he became less erudite when the simple question arose of how his research had been funded.

There was good reason for his sudden hemming and hawing...

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

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Feinstein Notes Bush Administration Refusal to Allow Testimony Despite Republican, White House Claims of Rampant In-Person Polling Place Fraud
21 Million Americans Said to Lack Photo-ID That Would Meet Restrictive Laws Being Pushed by GOP Operatives, Officials...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2008 8:49pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Phoenix, AZ...

For all the Bush Administration and Republican Party's phony sturm and drang about a supposed epidemic of "voter fraud" at the polling place, the DoJ refused to offer a representative to testify at a Senate hearing today on the topic.

According to a statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chaired the hearing this morning in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, the DoJ refused to allow testimony from the William Welch, Chief of the Public Integrity Section, which has "responsibility for civil and criminal enforcement of such voter fraud to discuss what the Department has found and to help quantify the problem of voter fraud at the polls."

"Only after extensive back and forth between my staff and the Department," Feinstein says, "did they finally send a letter stating that at some future date they would provide an unspecified witness." The full press release, including her opening statement today, is posted at the end of this article.

"In the void left by the Justice Department," Feinstein said, former US Attorney David Iglesias was called as a witness today. As The BRAD BLOG reported in some detail when the hearing was announced several days ago, Iglesias was fired during the U.S. Attorney Purge after he'd refused to bring phony "voter fraud" charges despite pressure from both Republican operatives and elected officials alike.

It's little wonder the DoJ was not allowed to participate in the hearings, despite the well-funded White House and Republican efforts to use discredited "evidence" of "voter fraud" in order to require Photo ID restrictions at the polling place which would succeed in disenfranchising millions of legal, largely Democratic voters, who do not have such ID...

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

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Former ACVR Stooge Produces 'Magical Invoice,' is Forced to Retract Swiftboat-style Attacks on Former Republican Governor Dave Cargo...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2008 1:03pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road...

We've been on the road for the last several days, so haven't been able to keep you up to date with some of the latest beats in the NM GOP/Rep. Heather Wilson "Vote-Buying" story, since our on-air audio interviews with some of the key players on Friday. (see our Special Coverage Page here for the full background.)

New Mexico journalist and TV host Dennis Domrzalski --- who broke the story in the blogosphere first, including the not-insignificant detail that coverage of the original allegations had been spiked by NM's largest news/talk radio outlet KKOB-AM 770, leading to the resignation of their award-winning news anchor, Laura MacCallum, who had originally both witnessed and aired the charges --- has been advancing it smartly over the last several days. As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively in detail last week, KKOB's news director Pat Allen has been having a difficult time keeping his stories straight about why exactly he spiked the stories after the Wilson campaign contacted him to complain about them several times.

Domrzalski will have a guest blog for us here shortly on the latest latest, but to quickly catch you up with notable developments over the last several days...

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

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Focus Likely to be on GOP Voter Fraud Front Group 'American Center for Voting Rights' as New Mexico's Fired US Attorney David Iglesias, Missouri's SoS Robin Carnahan and Others Are Set to Testify on the Republican-Run Voter Disenfranchisement Scheme...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2008 2:15pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road...

The insidious nexus between phony GOP charges of "voter fraud" and the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal will finally be explored in a Senate Hearing on "In-Person Voter Fraud: Myth and Trigger for Disenfranchisement?" this Wednesday in Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) Rules Committee. The complete witness list and press release from Feinstein's office, announcing the hearings, is posted at the end of this article.

Witnesses will include, among others, former NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, believed to have been fired for his unwillingness to bring phony voter fraud charges in the state despite pressure from folks such as Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), and a representative of Republican operative Thor Hearne's now-defunct "American Center for Voting Rights," (ACVR) which The BRAD BLOG originally outed as a White House/GOP front group in a long series of investigative reports dating back to 2005, which began just after the supposedly non-partisan group (co-founded by two very high level White House/GOP operatives) first appeared on the scene...

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

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Republican Vote Suppression Scheme, Said to be 'Most Important Voting Rights Case Since Bush v. Gore' to be Judged by Republican Supreme Court
[UPDATE: USA Today Allows Discredited GOP Vote Suppressor, Con Man, Thor Hearne to Blog on Their Website in Reply!]
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2008 6:40pm PT  

In advance of Wednesday's hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court on the landmark case concerning the Republican Photo ID polling place restrictions in the state of Indiana, USA Today reports...

WASHINGTON — The League of Women Voters has tried to put names and faces on the people who could be hurt by a strict Indiana voter-identification law that the Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.

The league, in a court filing, refers to Mary Wayne Montgomery Eble, 92, who had no driver's license or ready access to the birth certificate she needed to get an alternative ID.

Ray Wardell, a stroke victim, made one trip to a state office for an alternative ID in vain. He did not have the proper document and returned home on foot with the aid of his walker.

Kim Tilman, a mother of seven whose husband, a janitor, is the family's sole source of income, found it would cost $26-$50 to round up the necessary papers for a proper ID.

The league is among the groups backing Indiana challengers to the law who say it impinges on the right to vote and mostly hurts elderly, disabled, poor and minority voters. A Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure in 2005.

Backers of the law have been unable to cite a single case of "voter fraud", apparently in Indiana history, that would have been prevented by this law, which is, as BRAD BLOG readers know well by now, meant to do little more than keep as many Democratic-leaning voters from being able to exercise their right to cast a legal vote in an election.

UPDATE 1/8/08: Where USA Today did themselves proud with the article linked above, they did themselves in by giving space to discredited GOP operative, snake-oil salesman, vote suppression front man, Thor Hearne to blog in reply. Hearne shouldn't be allowed outside of a jail cell, much less allowed to post his lies, disinformation and propaganda with impunity at USA Today. And I've said as much in the comments section (typos and all, in my middle-of-the-night, outraged response) below his blog item at the newspaper's website.

It's incredible that USA Today did not note Hearne's dozens of conflicts of interest with the very item he wrote on their pages. As to Hearne, it would hardly be the first time this conman has slid by without telling the truth about who he actually is.

Shame on USA Today. If readers here are unaware who and what Thor Hearne is, see our years long special coverage on him and the GOP propaganda scam he has been running right here: www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.

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Discredited GOP Operative Thor Hearne, Failed EAC Executive Director Thomas Wilkey, Both Quoted as Legitimate Sources...
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008 11:58am PT  

Richard Wolfe of USA Today, needs some new sources in his Rolodex.

In two decenti-ish and important stories today about massive failures and inaccurate voter purges in the new voter registration databases mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, Wolfe quotes two discredited operatives:

  1. U.S. Elections Assistance Commission executive director, Thomas Wilkey, the man who has failed miserably in his job of overseeing e-voting system certification on behalf of the EAC (or, more accurately, on behalf of America's voting machine companies), and
  2. Our old friend, the discredited discredited (to all but the corporate mainstream media, apparently) chief GOP voter suppression operative, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne of the exposed and defunct Republican front group, "American Center for Voting Rights".

To the substance of the two stories, both running today...The first, on legal voters being tossed off voting roles all across the country, Wolfe reports:

From Florida to Washington, voters have been challenged because names or numbers on their registration forms did not exactly match other government databases, such as Social Security and motor vehicle agencies. "We know that eligible people have been thrown off the rolls," says Justin Levitt, a lawyer with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

The databases are only as good as the information fed into them by applicants and election officials. That can lead to human errors as well as variations from state to state. Colorado, for instance, knocked nearly 20% of its voters off the rolls between the 2004 and 2006 elections. Arkansas purged 3%, according to Election Assistance Commission data.
...
Perhaps the worst problems are in Florida, where a Gannett News Service analysis found more than 14,000 people whose voter registrations were disputed by the state because they didn't match other databases; about 75% are minorities.

Wolfe then goes on to close the story with a comment apologizing for the federal government's failure in all of the above, by quoting Wilkey, the federal government's man who oversaw the failures, on behalf of the EAC, on all of the above...

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

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Gonzales Still Under Fire, ACVR Still Off Scot-Free, Along With the White House, the DoJ, John Tanner, Ann Coulter and Everyone Else the Democrats Have Utterly Failed to Properly Bring to Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2007 2:09pm PT  

First, the good-ish news. Just out from Jason Leopold at truthout [emphasis added]:

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is attempting to build a case of misconduct against Alberto Gonzales by showing that the former attorney general may have played a hands-on role in ousting former New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias based on pressure he received from former White House political adviser Karl Rove, according to several individuals familiar with the agency's probe.

Succumbing to improper political pressure in firing a US attorney would constitute a violation of Justice Department policy.

Recently, the OPR contacted Iglesias's former executive assistant, Rumaldo Armijo, to interview him about whether he was pressured by Pat Rogers, a Republican attorney in Albuquerque, and Mickey Barnett, a Republican lobbyist, to bring charges of voter fraud against Democrats in the state, individuals with knowledge of the scope of the OPR probe said.

Rogers was affiliated with the American Center for Voting Rights, a now defunct non-profit organization that sought to defend voter rights and increase public confidence in the fairness and outcome of elections. However, it has since emerged that the organization played a major role in suppressing the votes of people who intended to cast ballots for Democrats in various states. Rogers is also the former chief counsel to the New Mexico state Republican party, and was tapped by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) to replace Iglesias as US Attorney for New Mexico.
...
In an interview with Truthout in May, Iglesias said he had investigated so-called voter fraud allegations and found zero evidence to support the claims. He added that, based on evidence that had surfaced thus far and "Karl Rove's obsession with voter fraud issues throughout the country," he now believes GOP operatives had wanted him to go after Democratic-funded organizations in an attempt to swing the 2006 midterm elections to Republicans.

The BRAD BLOG has, of course, been following the GOP's voter suppression scam, headed by the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) for years, ever since we first outed them as a phony GOP front group back in March of 2005. See our ACVR Special Coverage page for the entire sordid mess.

As well, in March of 2007, we ran exclusive comments from John Boyd, one of the top Democratic attorneys in New Mexico, who offered his first hand account of the pressure being brought to bear on Iglesias by Republicans in the state to bring phony charges of Democratic "voter fraud" as far back as prior to the 2004 election.

A review of Boyd's insider perspective is instructive, to say the least, particularly as we head into 2008 when disingenuous cries of "voter fraud" will be heard from Republicanists from coast to coast --- as long as they don't concern Ann Coulter's own voter fraud --- and as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a key case on Photo ID polling place restrictions, described by the Century Foundation's Tova Andrea Wang, in her year-end column, "The Best and Worst of 2007: Voting Rights and Elections," to be "a far more important decision than Bush v. Gore ever was."

But with the continuing --- some might say, snail's paced --- OPR criminal investigation of Gonzales, we should note that the probe, as mentioned above, at least can be said to be moving forward in some fashion. Unfortunately, that's a far cry more than we can say for the job the Democrats are doing in bringing accountability via the U.S. Congress after a full year on the job.

Even the New York Times, in an editorial over the holiday, called on the lackluster Dems to get their act in gear, calling for "a full investigation into the misconduct that may have occurred," in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, adding that "it needs to be investigated vigorously and completely."

Then, unfortunately, they offer readers the bad news...

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

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End of Year Letter Describes Plan to Identify, Challenge Voters in 2008...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2007 12:15pm PT  

"To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!" brags Kansas GOP chairman Kris Kobach in his end-of-year letter.

Blue Tide Rising has the scoop, along with details on what "vote caging" is, for those who don't know by now. We should note, however, it's not immediately clear from Kobach's letter what exactly he means by his use of the term, and if he's referring to the illegal type of caging or not.

In any case, it's clear that the undemocratic (small "d") practice of working to keep Democratic (large "D") voters off the rolls, through any means necessary, in order to keep them from voting, through any means necessary, has been mainlined as perhaps the top strategy for the GOP in 2008. Even Bush's Dept. of Justice, under the hand of John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, has now been officially mobilized to direct such practices on behalf of the Republican States of America.

For more, see PBS's long-overdue video report from last summer, on the GOP's sordid history of vote caging and the corporate American mainstream media's failure to cover it when it might have mattered.

Plus, Crooks & Liars has details on the piece of work that is this Kris Kobach, a former counsel to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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The Discredited ACVR's Disgraced GOP 'Voter Fraud' Fraudster Reviving His Once-Popular Huckster Routine...
By Howard Beale on 12/17/2007 11:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri...

In an irony of ironies, the man famous for fabricating --and then suddenly disappearing-- an organization expressly for purposes of spreading misinformation about "voter fraud" in order to suppress Democratic vote counts, is now hitting classrooms to teach Missouri lawyers about campaign finance laws and lobbyist disclosure.

Thor Hearne is apparently set to headline an event next week sponsored by the Missouri Bar which is titled "Then and Now: Update on Campaign Finance and Lobbying Laws."

Perhaps Hearne will lovingly detail all the steps that one can take --hypothetically, of course-- to concoct front organizations that serve as proxies for partisan interests and then lobby legislatures for needless statutory changes that will strip away rights from legal voters and provide their party with structural electoral advantages.

This appearance by Hearne seems to be the latest in a series of contrived efforts to re-enter the public sphere after several months in hiding. Hearne largely disappeared from the scene after he became a touchstone of the actions of a corrupt and politically motivated Department of Justice --- who brought "voter fraud" prosecutions timed to coincide with elections, in violation of written DoJ procedures, etc. --- and suffered well-deserved beatings at the hands of Congressional investigators.

Hearne has recently surfaced, comically, as an election "expert" in a silly piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies and as the author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 41 Congressional supporters, including Missouri GOP nuts Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Roy Blunt, of Indiana's anti-voter voter identification law which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Presumably, Hearne believes that people have somehow forgotten that he was proven to be a charlatan and laughingstock just a few months ago. Neither FiredUp! Missouri nor The BRAD BLOG has forgotten.

The one saving grace of the Missouri Bar's seminar may be that Hearne's anti-rights ranting will be balanced out by one of his co-presenters, attorney Rob Heggie, who possesses a long record of standing up in favor of protecting the rights of Missouri voters.

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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Files Amicus Brief to SCOTUS in Indiana Photo ID Case, on Behalf of New Congressional 'Clients'
Dems Indignantly Issue More Harshly Worded Statements, as Voter Suppression Mainlined by Bush DoJ...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2007 10:15pm PT  

It was almost three years ago that The BRAD BLOG first spotted the conspiracy long-range business plan being fronted for the Republicans by GOP con-man/operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II. The scheme became immediately transparent, to those who wished to see it, when his brand-spanking new "voting rights" group scam, calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), popped up at a phony Congressional hearing on the 2004 Election, in March of 2005, as chaired by the now-jailed felon from Ohio, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Abramoff).

Hearne had identified himself at the hearing only as "a longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experienced in election law," conveniently omitting that he had been the very partisan national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and had founded the "non-partisan" ACVR with his "non-partisan" partner, Jim Dyke, who had previously been the communication director for the RNC. (Shortly thereafter, the "non-partisan" Dyke went on to work for the "non-partisan" Dick Cheney at the White House, and now fronts for the "non-partisan" Rudy Giuliani.)

We spent a good portion of the ensuing three years with our hair on fire, trying to wave red flags about the transparent scheme/propaganda that Hearne was selling: Phonied up data on a non-existent "epidemic" of "Democratic Voter Fraud" in order to force restrictive Photo ID laws at the polling place, meant only to keep millions of largely Democratic-leaning minority and elderly voters from being able to cast a legal vote at all.

After the U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal finally shed light on the Republican "voter fraud" scheme to the rest of the media, folks started paying attention and Hearne quickly shut down his ACVR shop.

But the mission had been accomplished, and the foothold the Republican scammers needed had already been established, with laws such as Indiana's Photo ID restriction that is now headed towards a hearing in the Supreme Court. The results of the decision could well help determine the outcome of the 2008 elections.

UPDATE: Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld picks up on this precise issue today, reporting on how the rightwing "ballot security" operatives are arguing to the Supreme Court in favor of pre-emptive voter challenges at the poll, without the necessity of having to show that any such voter fraud is actually occurring. As well, they are building their legal case on the idea that "fear of" voter fraud is enough to demand such onerous ID requirements, even though it is the same "right-wing activists who spent years creating and publicizing a myth of widespread voter fraud," who are now making the case that "perception of potentially corrupted elections is yet another reason why states should be allowed to police the voting process with new restrictions such as voter ID laws." These wingnut zealot bullshit artists are the best in the business. If you consider "best" to be most evil and "business" to be our frickin' American democracy.

Despite Hearne's claims, made earlier this year to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that The BRAD BLOG made it impossible for him to run his scam without public/media notice, the huckster is still at it. He's just filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, on behalf of 41 GOP Congress members.

You didn't think he'd just slither back under his rock and stay there, did you?...

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

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Some Quantitative Numbers from the Brennan Center in Response to the GOP 'Voter Fraud/Photo ID' Scam...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2007 10:11am PT  

We don't normally run full articles from elsewhere, but since I'm on the road with very limited time online, and since this item is so important right now and of note to so much that we've covered here over the years (take a look at our Special Coverage page on ACVR to get a taste), I'm making an exception and taking the liberty.

The following is from Josh Marshall at TPM, and was originally published here yesterday. Click through the links below for much more detail!...

In our coverage of the US Attorney Purge story a major issue looming in the background was the Republican party's effort to reduce minority voting. And a key way of doing that was to get states to pass (and the gutted Voting section at DOJ to approve) so-called voter ID laws to crack down on vote fraud for which there was in fact no evidence.

The truth is that if you're an educated and reasonably well-off person who has time free to read about politics during the day at TPM you very likely have one or more pieces of ID, in all likelihood a driver's license. But among minorities, low-income voters, the young and the old that's often not the case. And those who don't have acceptable voter IDs are disproportionately Democrats.

Remember, the point of voter ID laws is not to eliminate fraud it is to eliminate Democratic voters. So if your voter ID law disenfranchises 10% of voters and 80% of those are Democrats you've just handed yourself several percentage points that can win you a bunch of close elections --- it's certainly easier than winning them the old fashioned way.

In any case, I return to this topic because one of these laws has been enacted in Indiana. And the Brennan Center and others have filed an amicus brief with a new quantitative study which finally puts real numbers on how many people will effectively lose their right to vote.

I'm quoting here from the press release on some of the study's key findings ....

# 21.8% of black Indiana voters do not have access to a valid photo ID (compared to 15.8% of white Indiana voters - a 6 point gap).

# When non-registered eligible voter responses are included - the gap widens. 28.3% of eligible black voters in the State of Indiana do not have valid photo ID (compared to 16.8% of eligible voting age white Indiana residents - a gap of 11.5 percent).

# The study found what it termed "a curvilinear pattern (similar to an upside down U-curve)" in the relationship between age and access to valid ID - younger voters and older voters were both less likely to have valid ID compared to voters in the middle categories. 22% of voters 18-34 did not have ID, nor did 19.4% over the age of 70. (compared to 16.2% of Indiana voters age 35-54 without valid ID and 14.1% for 55-69 year olds).

# 21% of Indiana registered voters with only a high school diploma did not have valid ID (compared to 11.5% of Indiana voters who have completed college - a gap of 9.5%).

# Those with valid ID are much more likely to be Republicans than those who do not have valid ID. Among registered voters with proper ID, 41.6% are registered Republicans, 32.5% are Democrats.

The study puts in a very stark relief what the Republican effort to keep minority and low-income voters from the polls is really about. And the Supreme Court will soon sign off on whether this is permitted --- a decision that will have a huge effect on voting rights in this country for years to come. Please take a moment to check out the press release and find out more.

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Faces Extremely Pointed Questions from Committee Members, Furious About Recent Comments Reported by The BRAD BLOG...
UPDATED NOW WITH VIDEO OF THE MOST CONTENTIOUS Q&A's...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2007 7:25am PT  

We're up before the West Coast dawn this morning to monitor the hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties featuring John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. His recent objectionable comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago.

The most objectionable of those comments including his contention that it was a "shame" that elderly voters might be disenfranchised by a 2005 Georgia Photo ID poll restriction that he approved on behalf of DoJ and against the advice of four out of five of his career staffers, minorities would somehow benefit from it. His twisted reasoning was that "because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way white people do. They die first."

Tanner, incredibly, is still the Chief of the Voting Section in the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

It's being carried live and webcast on C-Span 3, as well as via the Judiciary Committee's own webcast.

Major points in our story so far...

Beyond that, Progress Report has an excellent round up of Tanner's "Erosion of Voter Rights" during his tenure.

The hearings have now ended, but our notes from our Live-Blogging of today's hearings are below, along with video clips of the key, and most pointed exchanges...

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

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From DREs to the ACVR to the DOJ, The Republican Alphabet Soup Blueprint for Disenfranchisement and Miscounting in Next Year's Election Has Been a Well-Crafted and Well-Funded Work, Long in the Planning...
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on 10/21/2007 5:04pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press

ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.

With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?

Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.

With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.

Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.

Rove, Ney and the Undead

Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.

All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.

Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.

Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.

That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.

Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...

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

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Chairman of House Judiciary Committee is Troubled by Voting Chief John Tanner's 'Justification' for Inequal Treatment of Black Voters in Buckeye State
Plans to Address Matter 'Head On' in Upcoming Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2007 4:03pm PT  

Following up our earlier story today, the Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-MI), has now released a statement in response to TPM Muckraker's story today with on-the-record comments from former DoJ officials questioning the seriousness (or lack thereof) of the "investigation" by the Department's chief Voting official, John Tanner, into the reported racial disparities at polling places during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio.

In Conyers' statement (posted in full at the end of this article) he says he's "concerned about the extreme lengths Mr. Tanner went to in order to justify the reasons African-Americans were not treated equally in the 2004 Ohio election," and charges that "The Department of Justice – since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate allegations of voter suppression and discrimination, like those made in Ohio in 2004."

Tanner's "investigation" at the time had, remarkably, charged that the reason for long lines in minority areas of Ohio was because minorities chose to vote late in the afternoon, instead of earlier in the day as white voters did.

Essentially, as RAW STORY's coverage this afternoon says, "black voters caused their own lines in the Ohio 2004 vote," if Tanner is to be believed.

But a report from TPM Muckraker earlier today quotes a former colleague of Tanner's, who accompanied him on his trip to Ohio during the "investigation," as saying, "did black precincts get neglected? I know we didn’t try very hard to find out."

Conyers originally responded to Tanner's investigation in 2005 with a letter of his own back in 2005, writing to then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he was "flabbergasted that your office could reach such a casual conclusion without addressing the most serious charges of mis-allocation of votes in the County." He also expressed outrage that the DoJ chose to look into reports of election irregularities in only one Ohio county (Franklin).

Both Tanner's and Conyers' letters were posted and reported by The BRAD BLOG in 2005.

Today, the chairman says that in his 2005 landmark (though largely ignored, at the time) report entitled "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio", he revealed "huge racial disparities in how voting machines were distributed in white and black precincts, among other findings." Yet Tanner had "found no discrepancies in the number of voting machines and attributed the long lines to the tendency of African-American voters to vote after work, as opposed to in the morning hours."

The BRAD BLOG has received indications from Conyers' office that he intends to question Tanner on these topics directly in an upcoming hearing. His statement today gives further indication of that.

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

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Republicanists Using Their Politicized Big Government Tools to Fight Against Democracy in America
Voter Roll Purges Ordered for 2008 by DoJ in 10 Key States...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2007 8:35am PT  

Gonzalez and Schlozman and Griffin may be gone, but the long-term politicization and damage at the DoJ was done and institutionalized long ago. The usual suspects --- Thor Hearne, Hans von Spakovsky, Joe Tanner, et al. --- are still plying their insidious anti-democracy trade with all of the tools of big Republican government at their disposal.

If you Dems think "nothing could possibly go wrong in 2008," you'd better think again. As Steve Rosenfeld at AlterNet reports, the Republicans aren't taking '08 lying down. Not by a long shot.

Earlier this year, the DoJ sent another round of threatening letters to 10 key battleground states, threatening to sue them if they do not purge their voter rolls. Yes, the Republicanists have found a "legal" way to use the DoJ to do the illegal vote-caging work the party and their phony well-funded "grass-roots" used to have to do. No wonder Thor's American Center for Voting Rights was able to go "out of business."

The DoJ is the new ACVR.

"They want more people showing up on Election Day and not finding their names," former DoJ Voting Section attorney David Becker, now of People for the American Way (PFAW), tells Rosenfeld. "They want people not voting."

If you don't haven time to read Rosenfeld's entire in-depth investigative report (which should have been on the front page of the NY Times) here are a few of the key grafs...

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

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