'Non-Partisan' Republican Front Group, American Center for Voting Rights Releases Report, Six Press Releases Focusing on Democratic 'Election Fraud'
Massive Republican Voter Disenfranchisement Virtually Unmentioned, Phony Quotes by 'Democrat' Used in Releases
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2005, 11:47am PT  

In a massive new attempt today to disinform the American Voting Public and sidetrack the true bi-partisan Election Reform movement in this country, the phony "voting rights" group --- calling themselves deceptively "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) --- issued a new report today charging that Democrats were "Far More Involved In Voter Intimidation And Suppression In 2004."

{UPDATE 5/15/07: Since the ACVR has now disappeared from view in the wake of the U.S. Attorney purge, and their website has been taken off line, the report referenced above is now available here via the Internet archives instead. For the historical record.}

Five different heavily Democratic-leaning cities were cited in each of six different Press Releases issued at once via US Newswire within the last hour as being amongst the "top Election Fraud Hotspots" in the country. The sixth Press Release was focused on pushing the ACVR propaganda claim: "Democrat Operatives Far More Involved In Voter Intimidation, Suppression In 2004".

The deceptively-self-described "non-partisan" ACVR, as previously exposed in a series of exclusive articles on The BRAD BLOG, is a Republican front group created by high-level GOP operatives expressly for the purpose of spreading disinformation to sidetrack the Election Reform movement in this country.

Both of ACVR's main players continue to be tied to the upper echelons of the GOP and are longtime Republican partisan operatives. Executive Director Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, has been a backroom player for years in the Missouri and national GOP parties and was most recently the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. Their Press Spokesman Jim Dyke was the RNC Communications Director during the 2004 election responsible for arranging to have operatives dress up in "Flipper" costumes at John Kerry election events.

Though they claim to be "non-partisan" and enjoy tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 organization, they have never shared their 501(c)3 paperwork with The BRAD BLOG as requested (and as they had promised many months ago) despite what we understand is a legal requirement to do so.

Hearne was called to testify as an "expert witness" at a House Administrative Committee Hearing on the Ohio election just days after the creation of the phony group. The ACVR was the only such "Voting Rights" group called to participate in the hearings. Hearne misrepresented himself at those hearings only as a "longtime voting rights advocate," saying nothing about his ties to Bush/Cheney and the Republican Party. The hearings were chaired by Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), who is himself now under investigation for various alleged ethics violations.

We're on the move today, so haven't yet gotten to plow through the ACVR's full report, but in an onslaught of Press Releases today, the ACVR is clearly attempting to get the message out that it's Democrats, not Republicans, who primarily engage in "Election Fraud".

Ironically, they identify "non-partisan" (yes, they use the quotes!) groups such as ACORN as inappropriately registering Democratic voters. And though the ACVR report is identified in each of the Press Releases as "the most comprehensive and authoritative review of the facts surrounding allegations of vote fraud, intimidation and suppression made during the 2004 presidential election" there are no references to the thousands of well-known allegations of Republican intimidation and vote-suppression around the country or the Voter Registration forms collected and destroyed by groups tied to Republican Operative Nathan Sproul and Associates. Those registration forms --- from Democratic voters only --- were alleged to have been shredded in key swing states including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Oregon and Nevada.

This article from Boston University's Daily Free Press, amongst many others, details the many charges against Sproul and Associates and the phony "non-partisan" Voter Registration groups he set up around the country. Sproul was paid millions by Team Bush and attempted to hide it according to the Baltimore Chronicle and several other reports, and is the subject of a criminal investigation related to these matters in the state of Oregon. Much more on Sproul & Associates is available here.

No reference to Sproul or the many dirty tricks said to have been conducted by groups he organized are mentioned in any of the ACVR Press Releases today.

One new tactic of the ACVR's revealed in the flurry of Press Releases, is the addition of quotes from "ACVR Legislative Fund board member" Brian Lunde who was a DNC Executive Director at one point apparently. Press Reports, however, reveal Lunde as having worked closely with Bush Political Operative, Karl Rove and having represented several big business organizations which are supportive of Bush Administration initiatives.

The Press Releases, one each for the five so-called "Election Fraud 'Hot Spot'" cities, each quote Lunde as saying the same thing, but change the city referred to by Lunde in the quote.

For example, in the Release on St. Louis, claimed the "No. 3 Election Fraud 'Hot Spot'", Lunde is quoted as saying:

"Election after election, political parties, election officials and the news media act surprised when fraud, intimidation and suppression activities occur. Now everyone is on notice that there's a problem in the St. Louis area and those who don't participate in a solution will be held accountable," said Brian Lunde, ACVR Legislative Fund board member.

The city is then replaced in the Press Release on Seattle, claiming the city to be the "No. 3 Election Fraud 'Hot Spot' in America":

"Election after election, political parties, election officials and the news media act surprised when fraud, intimidation and suppression activities occur. Now everyone is on notice that there's a problem in Seattle and those who don't participate in a solution will be held accountable," said Brian Lunde, ACVR Legislative Fund board member.

The other three Press Releases referring to the top "Election Fraud 'Hot Spots'" have the same quote from Lunde, changed only to refer to the city in question: Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland.

A Washington Post article from 2003 identified Lunde as working closely with Bush political director/operative Rove:

For many on the list, the Rove connection is a mutually beneficial two-way street. Brian Lunde, former executive director of the Democratic National Committee and one of the few Democrats on the list, helped the Bush 2000 campaign round up Democratic supporters.

After Bush took office, Lunde has recommended Democrats for White House appointments, especially in cases requiring selections from both parties. During consideration of trade proposals and protective measures for the steel industry, Lunde could suggest to Rove potential Democratic supporters, which, in turn, advanced the interests of such Lunde clients as the Business Roundtable and Nucor Steel, which backed the administration initiatives.

As mentioned, because we are traveling this afternoon, we've not yet had time to try and reach Lunde for comment. However, Dyke's phone number is given on each press release as 843-532-1192 for those who may have any questions.

The ACVR's homepage where their report, and several other pages of appalling disinformation is available is at www.AC4VR.com.

This Saturday is the 40th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act. No doubt, today's reports and press releases were meant to coincide and continue the gross insult that the American Center for Voting Rights represents to the true Voting Rights activists in this country, many of whom have given their lives in support of such rights over the past century.

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.