Tells Paper It Was Marketing Department at His Lawfirm, Lathrop & Gage, Who Dunnit
Beyond That, Has No Idea Why His 'Client' ACVR's Website Disappeared...PLUS: More on Todd Graves & Tim Griffin...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2007, 4:08pm PT  

Accomplished liar Mark. F. "Thor" Hearne told Jo Mannies at the Post-Dispatch (the only reporter he'll speak to of late) that there is absolutely nothing nefarious behind the continuing attempts by "someone" at his Missouri law firm, Lathrop & Gage, to scrub references to his discredited GOP "voter fraud" group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), from his page at Wikipedia, as we discussed Tuesday, and again Wednesday, as the Wiki War continued, and as it became apparent that the ACVR had lied about their involvement in political activities on their federal 990 tax forms.

Mannies asked Thor about the ACVR references, now several times expunged from the page, and about what happened to the amazing, disappearing "voter fraud" hucksters. Incredibly, this is what she reports old Thor as having to say about it...

Hearne replied Wednesday that the answer is simple, and there's no conspiracy afoot. The marketing department at Hearne's law firm, Lathrop & Gage, is the culprit. Hearne said the firm has removed all Internet references to his ties to the center because it's no longer a client. No other reason.

[Loyola election law professor, Rick] Hasen noted that other former clients remain in Hearne's online bio.

As for the center itself, Hearne said he couldn't speak to the disappearance of its website or its own Wikipedia entry. But he did deny the critics' assertions, once featured on Wikipedia, that the center had ties to the White House.

Hasen added, in a short blog item about the Post article, that he finds Thor's excuse laughable.

"Couldn't speak to the disappearance of the website?" Hasen asked rhetorically. "That strains all credulity for the person who was the public face of the organization and the brains behind the operation."

"A law firm partner who doesn't know who at his law firm is editing the Wikipedia entry about him?" he noted skeptically.

Mannies adds another point or two of note, reporting that "Efforts to track down the center's former executives were unsuccessful," and that "Some political sources privately blamed possible financial problems for the center's surprisingly swift demise."

Speaking of straining credulity, "possible financial problems"? Give us a break. The ACVR received nearly $1 million from still unknown sources to ply their vote-suppression trade via bullshit reports of "Democratic voter fraud." As those political, and unsupported, charges revealed themselves to be at the center of the US Attorney Purge scandal, Thor and ACVR went slithering back under their rock for cover.

Thor is the only one who will speak on the record at this time, and only to Mannies. He's refused to call back Murray Waas from National Journal and Peter Overby at NPR, among others. Even though, as Mannies notes, "For the past two years, the American Center for Voting Rights — and its studies citing the potential for voter fraud — seemed to be everywhere....Any story about alleged voter misdeeds, or the battle over stiffer voter identification requirements, featured a quote from the center or its chief counsel, St. Louis-based lawyer Thor Hearne."

Mannies, however, reports that Thor is still willing to lie to any media interested in speaking about non-ACVR issues...

Hearnes [sic] said he's proud of his work with the center. He also still considers himself a legal specialist in election law.

Which means that news outlets seeking a conservative viewpoint regarding voter or election issues are still free to give Hearne a call.

In another related-ish item following the Hearne story, Mannies also reports that Todd Graves, then-US Attorney for the Western District in Missouri, was not under investigation at the time that now-fired US Attorney for Arkansas Bud Cummins was said to be looking into a state fee office scandal said to involve the Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt and Hearne's lawfirm of Lathrop & Gage.

Various members of Graves's family owned pieces of the state-run fee offices and initial reports on the matter had said that Graves --- who was later purged as well and replaced by interim GOP/DoJ "voter fraud" zealot Bradley Schlozman --- had recused himself from the investigation due to his conflicts of interest.

Cummins has told The BRAD BLOG via email that he was asked to take the case after the US Attorney in MO's Eastern District (St. Louis, where Thor is based) recused herself, and that Graves, to his knowledge, was never asked to take over the investigation.

"The scope of our investigation was limited to the fee offices in the Eastern District," Cummins told Mannies. "It could have spread, but it didn't."

While Cummins, appropriately, would not tell us the scope of the actual investigation, we'll be sending him this recently posted item, just for kicks, since --- who knows? --- he might want to pass it on to Jane Duke, who ran the original investigation and is now serving as the US Attorney for Arkansas. Duke stepped in after the Rove-bot vote cager Tim Griffin, whom Cummins was moved out to make room for, recently stepped down amongst the glaring light of AttorneyGate.

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.