6-Day Old Tax-Exempt Group Run by High Level GOP Operatives!
(GOPUSA/Talon News, Anyone?)
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2005, 7:01pm PT  

Republicans seem to have a new found interest in the Electoral Reform movement. An article today from the extremist rightwing web publication WorldNetDaily attacks Sen. Hillary Clinton's election reform bill with quotes from several critics, but none from either Clinton or other supporters of the bill.

In Ohio, state Republican legislators are attempting to raise the cost for candidates seeking a recount after an election. While in Georgia, Republican legislators are trying to pass laws requiring voters to produce Photo ID at the polls.

And yesterday, Ohio Republican Congressman, Bob Ney, chairman of the U.S. House Administrative Committee held hearings in Columbus on the massive reported problems during the 2004 Presidential Election in the Buckeye state.

Perhaps something is suddenly causing Republicans to try and get on the offensive when it comes to the drumbeat of Election Reform now surging across America.

But it's a brand-spanking new, outta-nowhere, just-in-time-for-yesterday's-hearings, Talon News-like "Voting Rights" organization that has caught our eye for the moment.

As reported here earlier today, the U.S. House Administrative Committee hearings yesterday in Columbus featured testimony from St. Louis attorney, Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II of the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR).

According to Internic records, the ACVR was established on the web just last Thursday and early investigation into this group would seem to indicate that it is little more than a front group for Republican operatives with little or no interest in actual "Voting Rights" at all.

While Hearne is listed as a witness for yesterday's hearings on the U.S. Committee for House Administration website as "National Counsel, American Center for Voting Rights", there is no mention of his affiliation or extensive work for Bush/Cheney '00, '04 and other Republicans.

Hearne, a former Reagan Administration official, is the National Election Counsel to Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. and was Missouri counsel to Bush-Cheney ?00 Inc. As well, he was General Counsel to Republican Missouri Governor Blunt.

He is pictured, at a March 5, 2005 Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) reception in Ohio, at the bottom of this article. The RNLA is an off-shoot of the national Republican Party.

But Hearne is not the only high-level Republican operative working for the tax-exempt "non-partisan" 501(c)3 organization...

ACVR publicist, Jim Dyke --- the contact person given on a press release issued by ACVR yesterday --- is the one-time Communications Director for the Republican National Committee!

On January 15, 2005 in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hearne was asked directly about "voter fraud"...

Does a lot of voter fraud occur?

I do not know. It would be hard for me to see that you could commit voter fraud on a level that you can influence an election, only if the election was within more than 1 percent, well maybe 2 percent.

None the less, in a 31 page report [PDF] --- named "ThorReport.pdf" on the ACVR website --- turned into the House Admin Committee yesterday to coincide with Hearne's testimony, "voter fraud" is suddenly the utmost concern to Mr. Hearne.

The report, in which Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II is listed as the leading "contributor", details problems in Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election. No, not the ones where thousands of votes appeared out of nowhere for George W. Bush, or the hundreds (thousands?) of reports of voters attempting to vote for Kerry on touchscreen machines only to have their votes counted for Bush. The ACVR report claims that several Progressive and Liberal organizations committed criminal acts of fraud by illegally registering non-existant voters.

This voter registration effort was not limited to registration of legal voters but, criminal investigations and news reports suggest, that this voter registration effort also involved the registration of thousands of fictional voters such as the, now infamous, Jive F. Turkey, Sr., Dick Tracy and Mary Poppins. Those individuals registering these fictional voters were reportedly paid not just money to do so but were, in at least one instance, paid in crack cocaine.

The fraudulent voter registrations, however, appear to be only part of the effort of these organizations to influence the election.

As we've had only limited time to look into this story so far today, we've not yet been able to reach Hearne or Dyke for comment. Nor have we had time to look into the backgrounds of the other names included as "contributors" to the Thor Report available on the ACVR website.

The listed "contributors" include:

Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II
Lathrop & Gage, L.C.
10 South Broadway; 13th Floor
Saint Louis, Missouri 63102
(314) 613-2522 - phone
(314) 613-2550 - fax
Thor@lathropgage.com

James E. Burke
Patrick F. Fischer
R. Patrick DeWine
Charles H. Gerhardt, III
Drew M. Hicks
Keating, Muething & Klekamp, PLL
One East Fourth Street, 14th Floor
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Tel:(513) 579-6400
Fax:(513) 579-6457

Douglas G. Haynam
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
1000 Jackson Street
Toledo, Ohio 43624
Telephone: (419) 321-1354
Facsimile: (419) 241-6894
mail to: dhaynam@slk-law.com
http://www.slk-law.com

William M. Todd
Mary C. Mertz
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP
41 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone (614) 365-2700
Fax (614) 365-2499

Mark R. Weaver
Mark Landes
Jeffrey Stankunas
Isaac, Brandt, Ledman & Teetor, LLP
250 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Jack Morrison, Jr.
Thomas M. Saxer
Thomas R. Houlihan
Amer Cunningham Co., L.P.A.
159 S. Main St.
Sixth Floor, Key Building
Akron, Ohio 44308
(330) 762-2411

Tim A. Greenwood
James P. Silk, Jr.
Spengler Nathanson P.L.L.
608 Madison Avenue, Ste. 1000
Toledo, Ohio 43604-1169
Phone: (419) 252-6211
Fax: (419) 241-8599

For some odd reason, we have the feeling that this story is still...DEVELOPING...

UPDATE 3/23/05: BRAD BLOG interviews with both Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II and Jim Dyke are now online here!

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.