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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 18, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


One of Several Reports 'Buried' by EAC, Shows Drop in Voter Participation in Wake of Poll Restrictions, Is Shamelessly Described as 'Draft'
Election Law Professor Warns: 'Chance for EAC to be an Honest Broker Above Politics Are Fading'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 4:51pm PT  

After recent Congressional oversight questioning by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission's Bush-appointed chairwoman, Donetta Davidson, has finally relented and agreed to release the commission's bi-partisan report on "Voter ID" issues which has been held back for months. That report, and another not yet released on claims of "Voter Fraud" have been withheld by the EAC, as we reported here and here and in a guest blog by Tova Andrea Wang, one of the two original lead researchers of the still-withheld "Voter Fraud" report.

Hinchey's statement on today's release, including a call for the release of the other related reports, is posted here.

Finally having released the June 28, 2006, report [PDF] today, in the wake of Congressional pressure, and shamefully titling it as a "Draft Voter ID Report" (since it didn't show what they had wanted it to show), the EAC today announced the following:

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has voted unanimously to launch a comprehensive study focused on voter identification laws after concluding that initial research it received in a report, which focused on only one election cycle, was not sufficient to draw any conclusions. The Commission declined to adopt the report, but is releasing all of the data to the public.

In other words, they'll get the "facts" they want, no matter how many reports they need to commission!

The report details how voter participation in minority areas had, in fact, declined after restrictive "Photo ID" laws were enacted at the polls.

"It appears that politics remains the EAC's main priority," said Michael Slater, Deputy Director of Project Vote who claims the commission responsible for overseeing elections systems in the U.S. continues to "play politics." In a statement posted after the report was released today he said, "It's disappointing that the Commission is building a reputation for ignoring or suppressing research findings that don’t satisfy everyone’s ideological position."

He added that the commission's disassociation from the report is another example of their string of continuing failures. "The EAC should be embarrassed by its attempt to impeach the report's findings by insinuating its methodology is unsound."

Are supporters of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill paying attention?! His bill, HR811, as currently drafted, would reward the EAC by making them a permanent body, despite their notable and repeated failures...

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

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Karl Rove Associate and GOP Operative Tim Griffin's Appointment in Arkansas --- and Others Like it --- Are Worth Noting as the Scandal Continues to Unravel...
By Arlen Parsa on 3/26/2007 10:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa

Details continue to drip out from the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal which seem to suggest that electoral politics --- and perhaps the 2008 election in particular --- may well have been at the heart of the White House/Dept. of Justice scheme to strategically place partisan operatives where they might be most useful prior to the next Presidential Election.

One such detail revealed itself on Tuesday March 20th when Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) appeared on MSNBC's Hardball to discuss the recent purge of several US Attorneys by the Bush Administration. Host Chris Matthews opened the segment by asking Pryor how much he knew about the White House's decision to replace the US Attorney in his state, Bud Cummins, with one of Karl Rove's associates, a partisan operative named Tim Griffin.

Pryor criticized the Attorney General for firing Cummins and replacing him with Griffin, who had very little professional experience in Arkansas and had only recently moved there when Cummins was fired in December of 2006. Cummins, on the other hand, whom George W. Bush himself had appointed in 2001, had been well respected, competent, and non-partisan (despite personally being a Republican).

But the real bombshell came near the end of the interview....

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

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More Evidence that the Bush Administration Used the Dept. of Justice for Little More Than a Blunt Political Instrument
Even as Democrats Continue to Rubber Stamp Wildly Inappropriate White House Appointments to Oversee the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 1:47pm PT  

In an editorial today, the New York Times picks up on the phony 'voter fraud' scam at the heart of the U.S. Attorney purge that we discussed in detail yesterday...

Phony Fraud Charges

In its fumbling attempts to explain the purge of United States attorneys, the Bush administration has argued that the fired prosecutors were not aggressive enough about addressing voter fraud. It is a phony argument; there is no evidence that any of them ignored real instances of voter fraud. But more than that, it is a window on what may be a major reason for some of the firings.

In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on “fraud,” the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.

John McKay, one of the fired attorneys, says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor’s race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. “There was no evidence,” he said, “and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury.”

It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Bush Administration used their Dept. of Justice for little more than a blunt political bludgeon. If all of this isn't grounds for Impeachment, we don't know what is. But we've felt that way at least a dozen times over the past four years.

If that's how this bunch abused their power at the DoJ, one can only imagine the abuses they continue to wreak under the absurdly over-reaching powers of the PATRIOT Act.

One other point of note from the recommended Times editorial today, which leads, in turn, to a much larger point that everyone --- particularly Congress --- ought to be made aware of...

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

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An Insider's Report from a New Mexico Election Attorney on the Firing of David Iglesias and the Rove/DoJ/Republican Efforts to Create a 2004 'Voter Fraud' Scare in the State...
RELATED? - The GOP 'Voter Fraud' Front Group ACVR Goes Suddenly AWOL!
By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2007 2:56pm PT  

As you might expect, there is much more to the "voter fraud" angle in the U.S. Attorneys Purge scandal than initially meets the eye. As you might also expect, we've taken keen notice as we've long been following and reporting on the insidious machinations behind the GOP/White House/Rove scheme to (rather successfully) invent the cynical notion of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America for purely political purposes.

First... Allow me to set the stage for the unenlightened by referring you to an amazingly wonderful new report [PDF] on the manufactured myth of American "voter fraud" as released by ProjectVote.org and authored by Lorraine C. Minnite, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Among the report's key findings [PDF]:

  • Voter fraud is extremely rare.
  • Most voter fraud allegations turn out to be something other than fraud.
  • There is a long history in America of elites using voter fraud allegations to restrict and shape the electorate.
  • The historically disenfranchised are often the target of voter fraud allegations.

Finally, an academician thoroughly debunks --- nay, eviscerates --- the long-worked, well-moneyed, and invidious GOP plot to create the illusion of an American "voter fraud" epidemic (as distinct from very real election fraud concerns). The point behind the effort is solely to push for disenfranchising laws and restrictions in an effort to keep legitimate voters away from the polls in our democracy. If you read only one page of this report, "The Politics of Voter Fraud," it will be well worth your time!

Second... The phony "non-partisan" GOP front-group calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), created in 2005 for nothing more than to facilitate the White House/Karl Rove "voter fraud" schemes, seems to have suddenly gone missing! BRAD BLOG readers will recall the despicable operatives who set up their "tax-exempt," "voter fraud" chop shop just three days before testifying at a staged Congressional hearing on the 2004 Ohio Presidential Election before the now-disgraced, felonious former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney of the House Administrative Committee. We broke the story exclusively at the time, and have continued reporting on it in a long series of special coverage reports ever since.

The alleged 501(c)3 group --- which has never produced paperwork to back up its tax-exempt status, to our knowledge --- was founded by the "non-partisan," "former" Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. national general counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, along with "non-partisan" RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke. Dyke now works for non-partisan Dick Cheney's office. Hearne then, and apparently still now, seems to be working for Karl Rove as one of his top national operatives.

Since news coverage of the tip of the iceberg in the GOP "voter fraud" scam has been revealed as directly related to the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, it seems that all of a sudden the ACVR's detailed and propaganda-filled website has suddenly disappeared down the memory hole. As of today, both of ACVR's domain names AC4VR.com and AmericanCenterForVotingRights.com each return "Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)" errors.

Gone, but not forgotten. As we find out more on the AWOL ACVR we will, of course, let you know.

Lastly... Though certainly not leastly, John Boyd, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, based elections attorney who worked with the Democratic party in the state during the 2004 election, sends us the following inside account of the scandal surrounding recent reports that purged NM U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was removed for his unwillingness to prosecute claims of "voter fraud" in the state prior to the 2004 Presidential Election.

Before the election, Boyd helped represent the Dems in defending against the scurrilous GOP "voter fraud fraud," as he calls it. After the election, he successfully filed suit, along with the watchdog organization VoterAction.org, against the state concerning failures in their DRE/touch-screen voting system. That suit eventually led to a statewide ban on such systems and a requirement for paper-based elections.

Boyd writes that the firing scandal is actually "far worse than it now appears." His harrowing, first-hand account and reasons for that claim, as sent to us this morning, details how the GOP manufactured their pre-election "voter fraud" crisis in the state, despite lacking any evidence of any actual crimes.

His first-hand description of the events follows in full...

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

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Founder of Phony Anti-Democracy GOP Front Group, Bush/Cheney Operative, Welcomed Again as 'Expert' at America's Federal Elections Oversight Commission Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2006 4:30pm PT  

Need any more proof that the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) which was formed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is hopelessly compromised and utterly ineffective beyond repair?

Here's the agenda [PDF] for their Dec. 7th "Public Meeting." On Panel 2 for the "Assessing the 2006 Election" is, of course, the wholly discredited, democracy-loathing, high-level GOP operative scam artist and Bush/Cheney '04 national counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne. Again.

Apparently he has a bought and paid for permanent seat at the table, next to his St. Louis colleague and partner in Anti-Americanism, the outgoing EAC chair Paul DeGregorio.

You'll note Hearne no longer even bills himself as being the founder of the phony, self-declared "non-partisan" "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) anymore since his GOP front group astroturf organization --- created solely to deflect from real Election Fraud concerns and push a contrived "epidemic" of Voter Fraud on an unsuspecting public so as to establish disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polls across the country --- has been so thoroughly discredited. (You're welcome.)

As I frequently say, this democracy ain't gonna save itself. Particularly with cretins such as "Thor" doing all they can to game your American democracy for their own contemptible partisan interests.

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...But Voters Should Watch out for Sec. of State Brad Johnson!
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2006 9:35am PT  

As I was reading this excellent article by Ed Kemmick from Sunday's Billings Gazette I was preparing to mention how nice it would be if every state dealt with their election issues in such an adult and responsible manner as Kemmick reports would now seem to be occurring in Montana, where the state mandates a paper ballot for every vote cast.

I was also going to remark how nice it would be if the country's national media, such as WaPo, NY Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, et al. covered election issues with such sober, non-political, attention to detail.

I'll still strongly recommend Kemmick's piece for precisely those reasons (and for the superb quotes from the good John Gideon and others)...but then I got to the bottom where two paragraphs stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest of the reasoned discussion of the state's voting machines and what still needs to be done to assure accuracy and confidence in their system.

The final grafs covered statements from Montana's Secretary of State Brad Johnson, about the responsible proposals discussed in the rest of the article for dealing with remaining concerns in the state's electoral process. Without any mention elsewhere in the article regarding any concerns about voter identification issues in the state, Johnson sadly drops these turds into the bucket...

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

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Brad's Dad Again Holds Feet to the Fire at the Polling Place...This Time Over Unconstitutional Photo ID Restrictions...
By Harvey Friedman on 11/20/2006 10:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Harvey Friedman (Brad's father)

ED NOTE: My dad previously guest blogged his amusing experience at the polls in St. Louis County during their primary election in August held on new touch-screen and/or optical-scan systems made by ES&S. Prior to that, it was reported he that he was instrumental in encouraging the county to not choose Diebold systems (they chose ES&S instead, for good or bad). Today, he shares his anectodes of again holding election officials' feet to the fire during the recent general election there. As he's never been an activist, or even political in anyway prior to all of this, I couldn't be prouder.

As I reviewed the St. Louis Post Dispatch on the day after the November 7th election, I was drawn to an article titled "Secretary of State Blasts County on IDs". The article said, in part:

The Missouri secretary of state says St. Louis County election officials may have confused voters — even intimidated them — by asking for identification that went beyond what is required.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office notified the county as early as last week about her concerns and alerted the U.S. attorney's office, which handles voter obstruction cases.

The state Supreme Court last month threw out a law stating that a voter needed a photo identification to cast a ballot. But some county election workers still were asking voters on Tuesday whether they had a photo or signature ID.

The article went on to say that "The St. Louis County Board of Elections, which oversees the largest jurisdiction of voters in the state, is appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt."

As BRAD BLOG readers may know, Blunt's right-hand man for years on voting issues was none other than "Thor" Hearne, the self-declared "non-partisan" founder of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). The ACVR has been pushing for restrictive Photo ID requirement laws all across the country since the 2004 election. Most of those laws have been found to be unconstitutional, despite Hearne – the "non-partisan" who was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. – and the ACVR's continuing attempt to convince America that there is a massive problem with voters voting twice and illegal aliens voting and so forth.

After reading the article and talking to Brad about my election day experience, it seems that perhaps others might be interested in my interesting personal experience while voting during the November 7th election here in St. Louis County....

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

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...Despite Supreme Court Ruling Which Overturned Restrictive, Unconstitutional Photo ID Law!
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2006 3:05pm PT  

Incredible. Despite the Missouri Supreme Court having overturned the states unconstitional Photo ID law, a poll worker tried to force MO Sec. of State Robin Carnahan to show hers before she would be allowed to vote!

Carnahan told The Associated Press on Monday that a worker at the St. Louis Election Board asked her three times to show a photo identification when she voted absentee last Friday - despite a Missouri Supreme Court ruling striking down the photo requirement.

The poll worker apparently did not recognize that Carnahan was Missouri's chief elections official when Carnahan showed a paper voter card mailed out by the local election authority. The card does not have a picture but is an acceptable form of identification under Missouri law.

Carnahan said she tried to explain a photo ID was not necessary, but the election worker replied that she was instructed to ask for one anyway. Carnahan said she eventually was allowed to vote without displaying a photo identification.

Keep in mind, Missouri is "Thor" Hearne country. He's the high-level GOP operative, Bush/Cheney general counsel and overall democracy-hater whose been pushing the Photo ID efforts in every state around the country via his frontgroup, the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights.

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Current Chairman Paul DeGregorio Now Running a Desperate Misinformation Propaganda Campaign Just Days Before Election...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2006 1:33pm PT  

I only have a second as I've got to hit the road to get up to Santa Barbara to speak at tonight's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner (along w/ Wes Clark), so I'll try to be quick about it...

The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) is a complete and utter failure. The current commissioner, Paul DeGregorio, has done nothing to instill confidence in elections or provide a lick of oversight in the deployment and use of these voting systems across the nation in the Midterm Election. In his latest interviews and editorials, he is reprehensibly doing nothing but echoing Voting Machine Company propaganda and Election Officials who choose to be apologists for them.

See DeGregorio's latest editorial here from the Tallahassee Democrat, in which he posts completely unfounded and unsupported "opinion" in contradiction of virtually all scientific evidence.

Contrast DeGregorio's nonsense with the comments of his predecessor, the honest, Bush-appointed, non-crony, Rev. DeForest Soaries, from this unaired network interview, in which he flatly states there are no standards for electronic voting systems in place and that 'elections in America are ripe for stealing.'

The EAC, under the "leadership" of DeGregorio, has become hopelessly compromised as he's allowed even the disinformation experts, such as "Thor" Hearne from the phony GOP front-group "American Center for Voting Rights," to set the agenda for the commission. Note that DeGregorio and Hearne are old St. Louis GOP colleagues. What a scam.

Below are a few choice pieces of information unsubstantiated horse excrement, from DeGregorio's editorial yesterday.

On this one point only, I can actually agree with DeGregorio: "Americans should be confident that their vote will be counted, whether they touch a screen or fill in an oval."

Yes, they should be confident, but they have absolutely no basis for that at this time, thanks to folks like you, Paul. Your words do not give such confidence. Transparency gives confidence. We've had quite enough "faith-based elections" in this country. Anyway, read on for some of DeGregorio's most shamelessly misleading garbage... (You can contact the EAC here.)

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

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Court Rulings (and Facts) Continue to Pile Up Against Those Who Hate Democracy (Like Thor Hearne and the ACVR), Who Want to Keep YOU From Being Able to Vote!
Decision Echoes Other Such Findings in Georgia and Arizona...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2006 3:16pm PT  

Good news for voters and democracy in Missouri!

Bad news for Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II, the democracy-hating, snake-oil selling, high-level GOP/Team Bush operative and the insidiously evil man behind the entire phony disenfranchising Photo ID legislation movement across the entire country through his phony "non-partisan" front group, "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), whom we exposed long ago.

The most satisfying part of this, perhaps, is that "Thor" is from our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, where's he's been pushing his powerful, behind-the-scenes buttons fighting in favor of this crap for years.

On calls and deadlines right now, so can't give much more info for the moment. Will try to update as needed later...Just out from AP...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the state's new voter identification law Monday that would have required voters to show a photo ID card at the polls starting this fall.

A lower judge ruled last month that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote. The state Supreme Court agreed in a 6-1 unsigned opinion.
...
The court found the requirement violated several provisions in the state constitution. The justices said requiring otherwise legitimate voters to obtain an appropriate ID imposed too great of a burden on their voting rights.

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No Wonder Hearne's Phony GOP Front-Group, ACVR, Didn't Want to See the Report Released
They're Named Three Times as the Only Group Forwarding the 'Voter Fraud' Bullshit!
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2006 2:57pm PT  

Following up on our Wednesday coverage of the four- month-old report on "Voter Fraud," which the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) refused to release when they discovered the report points to just how little such fraud actually occurs. The facts don't lie, despite the loathesome high-level GOP/Team Bush operatives who call themselves the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights' (ACVR), and their ongoing disingenuous and well-funded efforts to establish that voter fraud is rampant, perpetrated almost exclusively by Democrats, and must be cured by disenfranchising and unconstitutional Photo ID requirement laws at the polls (although not for absentee or military balloting, of course).

We've now had a chance to review the unreleased report [PDF] in full. It's just twelve pages. But it slams the notion that there is any massive problem in America with "Voter Fraud", despite ACVR's continuing campaign to suggest the problem is an epidemic --- versus all of the many other forms of disenfranchisement that really do occur and really do threaten our democracy.

"There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud," the report explains, "or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, 'dead' voters, noncitizens voting and felon voters."

The report singles out ACVR as the only named proponent of the discredited notion that voter fraud is plaguing the country --- ACVR is ignominously named as dissenting three times in the report! --- so it is little wonder they didn't want this report to see the light of day.

ACVR's main perpetrator and Democracy-Hater-in-Chief, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II, was actually a part of the "working group" assembled for this report. Notably, Hearne failed yet again to mention that he was the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. in his bio at the end of the report.

Similarly, Hearne withheld that information in his testimony on behalf of ACVR during now-disgraced Rep. Bob Ney's U.S. House Adminstration Committee hearing in March of 2005. ACVR was the only "Voting Rights" group invited to discuss the travesties of Election 2004. He testified only that he was a "longtime advocate of voter rights" and must have just forgotten to mention his Bush/Cheney connections...or that the ACVR had been formed just three business days prior to the hearing!

The EAC's buried report points to problems not with voter fraud, but instead with minority voter intimidation, improper purging of registration rolls, dirty tricks, and all sorts of things that the loathesome ACVR con-men have spent enormous amounts of money trying to smoke-screen, via propaganda reports hoping to fool America into believing that double-voting, dead people voting, and non-citizens voting is the real threat to democracy.

It's not. But anti-American monsters like Thor Hearne definitely are.

The biggest problem, the EAC's unpublished report finds, is absentee ballot fraud; a problem that is decidedly not addressed in any way by the despicable Photo ID laws that Hearne and friends have been promoting in statehouses around the country. He and his evil compatriots were even able to convene a phony "blue-ribbon" panel last year on Election Reform, chaired by Bush Family crony James A. Baker, in order to endorse the call for a national Photo ID requirement at the polls. (Who better to lead an Election Reform panel than the man who went to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to keep voters from having their votes counted in Florida in 2000?!)

Apparently snake-oil salesman Hearne was unable to fool the rest of the folks working on the EAC report into believing he wasn't utterly full of shit (as previously reported in exacting detail by The BRAD BLOG.)

Consider this embarrassing ACVR moment from the EAC's buried report...

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

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Democracy Hater, GOP Operative, Thor Hearne of the Phony Anti-American Front Group 'American Center for Voting Rights' is Back Spreading Propoganda for the Republicans!
And the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is Set to Help Them in a Hearing this Friday...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2006 3:54pm PT  

The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) is now doing the bidding of the RNC, according to an article today from USA TODAY.

It seems that the EAC commissioned, received, and then buried a report concerning the issue of Voter Fraud (as opposed to Election Fraud and other legitimate disenfranchisement issues) when they didn't like the results they received. The report, which the commission received four months ago but failed to release, found "little evidence" of the "problem" now being pushed nationwide by GOP operatives as evidence that disenfranchising Photo ID requirement laws should be passed in states across the country.

Such laws have been passed, and found unconstitutional from Georgia to Arizona to Missouri, yet the proponents of this scam --- who have shown themselves willing to stoop to any level to keep Democratic-leaning voters, who are far more likely to lack drivers' licenses, from voting --- have been keeping up their ongoing and expensive propaganda campaign.

Members of the commission were reportedly split on whether to release the report publicly. That internal battle four months ago may have led to at least one resignation from the commission, The BRAD BLOG has learned. Now chaired by outgoing Bush-appointee Paul DeGregorio since the original chair Rev. DeForest Soaries resigned in frustration, citing lack of support for true electoral reform from both the White House and Congress, the EAC has been much criticized for their failure to oversee implementation of and standards for new Electronic Voting Systems across the country.

The item today from USA TODAY suggests that the commission may now have become entirely politicized and polarized...

WASHINGTON — At a time when many states are instituting new requirements for voter registration and identification, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud those measures seek to stop.

USA TODAY obtained the report from the commission four months after it was delivered by two consultants hired to write it. The commission has not distributed it publicly.

A blog item, also posted today by USA Today, includes a link to the now unearthed report [PDF] which the EAC had sought to bury.

The report goes on to quote from GOP operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, who is still pushing his deceitful line about the non-existent "epidemic" of voter fraud in the country. Unfortunately, it is Hearne himself who appears to be the fraud, as The BRAD BLOG revealed in a series of reports beginning in March of 2005.

The RNC and the White House, via Hearne, their main operative on the Photo ID canard, have spread phony propaganda suggesting an epidemic of voter fraud in America ever since the 2004 election, when hundreds of thousands of voters were disenfranchised at the hands of GOP operatives.

Hearne and his motley crew created the phony, self-described "non-partisan" GOP front group, calling themselves "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), as we first revealed on March 22nd, 2005, shortly after they were the only "Voting Rights" group called to testify before congressional hearings held by the now-disgraced Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) on what went wrong in Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election.

Hearne testified before Ney's House Administration Committee on behalf of ACVR just three days after the group was created. He testified only that he was "a long time voting rights advocate," and didn't bother to mention that he had been the General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 or that ACVR's co-founder was Jim Dyke, the RNC Communications Director.

Dyke now works out of Dick Cheney's office in the White House. After exposure of the sham organization by this reporter, the group eventually added "Democrat" Brian Lunde as Executive Director. Lunde is a close advisor to Karl Rove and worked hard for Bush in 2004 and to retain a Republican Majority.

The group has been pushing phony stories about "Voter Fraud" to encourage disenfranchising Photo ID laws in states around the country ever since. The ACVR was even behind the creation of the Baker/Carter Commission, which also called for restrictive Photo ID laws.

From USA TODAY again...

Conservatives dispute the research and conclusions. Thor Hearne, counsel to the American Center for Voting Rights, notes that the Justice Department has sued Missouri for having ineligible voters registered, while dead people have turned up on the registration rolls in Michigan. "It is just wrong to say that this isn't a problem," he says.

That's one reason the commission decided not to officially release the report. "There was a division of opinion here," Chairman Paul DeGregorio says. "We've seen places where fraud does occur."

The consultants found little evidence of that.

In the meantime, the sham continues this Friday when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a hearing to discuss some of these matters. But the speakers list, The BRAD BLOG has learned, is made up most of the usual Photo ID Suspects.

The list includes the same old crew: Hearne, Prof. Robert Pastor (Executive Director of the cooked Baker/Carter Commission, who went ballistic in a BRAD BLOG interview last year) and the Wallstreet Journal's ultra-con John Fund, who wrote a book full of this propoganda some years ago that served to launch the current insidious movement.

The only invited speaker representating anything close to an actual legitimate voting rights activist is Donna Brazile of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute. We have warned her that it would seem she is being set up by appearing with this barrel of bad apples.

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

The complete press release for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing this Friday is posted in full below...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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The Dots Connect Between Abramoff, Ohio 2004 Election Smokescreen and Ney's Former Staffer Revealed to be on Diebold's Payroll While Working for White House Law Firm
All the While as HAVA --- America's 'Election Reform' Bill --- is Used for Political Payoff in the Bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2006 11:21am PT  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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'Non-Partisan' Group Tied to Bill Frists' Attorney, Ohio's Pending Anti-Democracy Legislation & Hordes of Frivilous Lawsuits and Attacks Against Legitimate Voting Rights Advocates...
By Brad Friedman on 12/30/2005 6:49pm PT  

It's been a while since the slimy cretins trying to pass themselves off as the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) have reared their ugly, high-level GOP-operative heads. We first uncovered these punks back in March while they were busy attempting to pull off a congressional charade in cahoots with the not-yet-indicted U.S. congressman, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH). We haven't heard much out of the ACVR since their August '05 report trying to sell the silly notion that "Democrat operatives were far more involved than Republican in voter intimidation and suppression in 2004" was laughed off the nation's radar (by all but a few of the most pathetic dead-ender wingnut suckers who will believe anything they're told to believe, no matter how laughable.)

But today, our friend Bob Fitrakis at the Free Press in Columbus connects a few more dots in the shameful ACVR/GOP/Ohio story. He offers a few more details on the group's direct connection to other high-level GOP operatives (like Bill Frist's attorney), the horrendous Ohio HB3 "Election Reform" legislation being ram-rodded up the asses of otherwise democracy-loving Ohio citizens by the unapologetically corrupt GOP-controlled snakepit of a legislature in the state, as well as more of the direct connections between them and the frivolous lawsuits and PR attacks made against several of the most active (legitimate) Voter Registration groups in the country.

We had a quick story ourselves on that last bit about two weeks ago, explaining how virtually all the phony legal attacks made against these groups have now failed --- even if the swiftboating success of the phony PR from it lingers on. Mission accomplished. This is the group whose website --- the one with Fox "News" Channel's Tony Snow on the front page, speaking of dead-ender wingnut suckers --- promises "ACVR will defend the election process through on-going civil litigation" amongst other lies, garbage and scurrilous attempted deceptions on the American electorate. Anyway, before we get too worked up into another rant on the America/democracy-hating ACVR chumbuckets, here's Fitrakis' latest on them and more.

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