By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2007, 3:33pm PT  

It's the worst time in the world for this. Except for any other. I've got to hit the road again, and will be on that road for the balance of the summer. Will be working from the road as usual, but if I'm lucky, I'll find some folks to cover for me here for extended periods, as I much need it. Heading to Atlanta for a start, to speak at the BackboneCampaign.org's Progessive Shadow Cabinet summit convening at the Carter Center next week. I'm proud to accept their nomination as "Secretary of Democracy."

Before I go, however, quick pointers to three must read recent ACVR/Thor Hearne exposés. At Columbus FreePress, TPMCafe, and National Journal. No time, for the moment, to give much more than quick pointers. But, as one recent emailer wrote when I mentioned I was leaving: "Why not leave out the middleman and let Thor Hearne write about himself at BRAD BLOG while you're gone?" :-)

Touché. But until I'm gone, here's the latest.

At Columbus FreePress...

FreePress's democracy champion in Ohio, Bob Fitrakis --- who was one of the first, if not the first to pick up on the ACVR story after we broke it all in 2005 --- gives us "Ohio, the DOJ scandal and 'Thor' - the god of voter suppression" today. It begins this way...

The current scandal involving the firing of U.S. attorneys cannot be separated from the Bush administration's scheme to suppress black, poor and working class voters. In order to divert attention from its voter suppression tactics that won Bush the White House in 2000 and 2004, the Bush administration created the myth of "voter fraud." Using fake "voting rights" organizations, obscure groups to finance civil suits and pressure on the U.S. Department of Justice to bring criminal charges against voter registration organizations, Karl Rove and his political operatives like Mark F. "Thor" Hearne have succeeded in undermining the United States' democracy.

...and continues to quote us hither and yon and otherwise give a terrific overview, including a timeline, of the brief, but storied, history of Thor and the American Center for Voting Rights scam. In particular, Fitrakis offers fresh details on the local ACVR corollary, referring to themselves as the "Free Enterprise Coalition" (FEC) a name that will be familiar to those who caught Howard Beale's article late last week on the Thor's local Missouri group calling themselves the "Center for Ethics and the Free Market" (CEFM).

The pedigree for Ohio's FEC front group was similar to those of both ACVR and CEFM --- set up by some of the same folks, including Alex Vogel (more on him in a moment) --- and is described familiarly by TMPCafe blogger "Mrs. Panstreppon" as having:

No website, no employees, a disconnected phone and a lapsed corporate registration. Without the 990s, you'd be hard pressed to know the GOP funneled $2.8 million through the Free Enterprise Coalition to fund election-related legal expenses between 2004 and 2005.

Sound familiar? Fitrakis also offers a fresh sidebar on Columbus's current Republican mayoral candidate William Todd, who is neck deep in ACVR and FEC doodoo.

A quick note of thanks to Bob for recognizing us as "the first to reveal Hearne's masquerade as a voting rights advocate."

At TPMCafe...

As well, in another must read for ACVR junkies, "Mrs. Panstreppon" offered a fresh piece over the weekend on ACVR's "de facto executive director," Alex Vogel.

"With so much media attention focused on Mark 'Thor' Hearne," Mrs. P reports, "Alex Vogel's role in the operations of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) is being overlooked."

Overlooked indeed. She goes into well-researched detail on Vogel, ACVR, and their connections to former RNC Chair Ken Melhman's lawfirm, where Vogel is now based.

At National Journal...

In a scathing exposé filed several weeks ago, including a bunch of fresh Hearne details, Murray Waas at the National Journal opened up the ACVR can of worms for the first time in a serious way at a mainstream outlet. He's got so much great Hearne stuff that I had hoped to devote an entire blog item here to his coverage, but was unable to as other news kept pre-empting over the last two weeks.

In either case, if you've yet to read his piece, headlined "The Scales of Justice," go do it now.

I'll be back soon, from the road, along with (hopefully) some more top-flight guest bloggers to fill my shoes while I'm away, on several super secret, and other not-so super secret missions...

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.