National Mainstream Media FINALLY Picks up on, Exposes the 'Non-Partisan' 'American Center for Voting Rights' Fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2007, 3:12pm PT  

After more than two years of banging the drum here at The BRAD BLOG, it looks as if the national MSM have finally picked up on the fraud perpetrated by Missouri's White House operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and his high-level, democracy-hating GOP scammer pals in Missouri, at the Department of Justice, and in the White House.

In a McClatchy article just out today, reporter Greg Gordon correctly identifies Missouri as "Ground Zero" in the Republican attempt to establish phony claims of Democratic "voter fraud" in order to institute new restrictions at the polls as part of an insidious ploy to Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote.

Gordon reports on a number of issues out of Missouri that we've covered here over the years, including; the unsubstantiated claims of "voter registration fraud" against ACORN filed just prior to the '06 election in the Show-Me state; the unsuccessful lawsuit brought by the DoJ against MO SoS Robyn Carnahan alleging more voters on the rolls than actual eligible voters; and the unconstitutional Voter ID law as pushed through the MO legislature as drafted by the slime-ball Hearne.

As well, McClatchy finally outs the supposedly "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), as created by Hearne and RNC Communications director, Jim Dyke. We began reporting on ACVR just three days after they went public on March 22, 2005 to testify before then-Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) House Administration Committee on Democratic attempts at "vote supression" during Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election.

Gordon finally exposes the ACVR in the mainstream media for what it actually was: Little more than a well-coordinated, (and still-mysteriously-funded) scam to produce public propaganda to support the GOP's insider push in swing states for voter suppression legislation and tactics by Republican officials.

Though the ACVR claimed tax-exempt 501(c)3 status from the beginning (despite their inability to show evidence of same), their "non-partisan" status was neatly embellished several months after they formed when they added "Democrat" Brian Lunde as their Executive Director. As Gordon writes...

Joining the push to contain voter fraud were Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, who charged that votes by dogs and dead people had defeated Ashcroft, GOP Gov. Matt Blunt, whose stinging allegations of voter fraud were later debunked, and St. Louis lawyer Mark "Thor" Hearne, national counsel to President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign who set up a non-profit group to publicize incidents of alleged voter fraud.
[I]n February 2005, Hearne helped establish the non-profit Center for American Voting Rights, which issued lengthy reports alleging voter fraud in states across the country, including Missouri. One director for the supposedly non-partisan group was Brian Lunde, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, who switched parties in 2000 and headed Democrats for Bush in 2004.

We covered the Lunde element of the scam back in August of '05 as the bulk of the MSM were still quoting reports from the phony group, and using their spokesmen as sources identified as "non-partisan," "grass roots," and "voting rights advocates."

Our article earlier today (and several prior to it, most recently here and here) reveals still more of Hearne's Missouri machinations and how his direct connections to the White House and DoJ led to the firing of the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas, Bud Cummins. The Republican attorney had been investigating both Gov. Matt Blunt and Hearne's lawfirm, Lathrop & Gage --- who have long served as Blunt's legal reps --- at the time of Cummins's unwarranted removal and subsequent replacement by a Rove protégé.

Gordon's complete article is a must-read. But allow us to highlight a few key passages concerning Hearne specifically, as well as Rove, Blunt, Sen. Kit Bond, DoJ "voter fraud" zealot/operative Bradley Schlozman (who would be installed, despite a lack of any previous prosecutorial experience, as interim U.S. Attorney in MO's Western District, just in time to bring several inappropriate, unsupported, and unprecedented "voter fraud" cases in the days prior to the '06 election), and the rest of the corrupt Missouri politicians/gangsters willing to use their offices in order to undermine democracy for their own personal, political gain.

"Few have endorsed the strategy with more enthusiasm than White House political guru Karl Rove," writes Gordon, "and nowhere has the plan been more apparent than in Missouri."

He reports that for all the sturm and drang in Missouri concerning allegations of "voter fraud," little, if any, was actually ever proven to be true. While in the meantime, the entire scheme has now been revealed as "part of a wider effort to protect the GOP majority in Congress with a series of measures to dampen Democratic turnout."...

Now, six months after freshman Missouri senator Jim Talent’s defeat handed Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, disclosures in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys show that GOP campaign to protect the balloting was not as it appeared.

In fact, no significant voter fraud was ever proven.

Instead, the Republican preoccupation with voter fraud was part of a wider effort to protect the GOP majority in Congress with a series of measures to dampen Democratic turnout. They included stiffer voter ID requirements, wholesale purges of names from lists of registered voters and tight policing of liberal get-out-the-vote drives.

Few have endorsed the strategy with more enthusiasm than White House political guru Karl Rove, and nowhere has the plan been more apparent than in Missouri.

Gordon unearths this nugget about a visit by Rove to Missouri just prior to the 2006 Election and his meeting with "Republican strategists" and "a large number of lawyers that are standing by" to take on the "threat of voter fraud."

In an interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt a couple of days before the election, White House adviser Rove said he had just visited Missouri and met with Republican strategists who "are well aware of" the threat of voter fraud. He said the GOP had "a large number of lawyers that are standing by, trained and ready to intervene" to keep the election clean.

One can safely assume that Rove met with "Republican strategist" and "lawyer" Hearne, as the St. Louis attorney was the point man, in Missouri and elsewhere, for the entire national scam. Earlier in the year, Rove thanked Hearne, by name, for his "work on clean elections" in 2000 and 2004, during an April 2006 speech at a Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) conference.

Gordon traces the early moments of Hearne's emergence on the scene back to an incident during the 2000 Election in St. Louis which would eventually feed the entire national GOP-backed voter suppression effort...

It’s difficult to capture the emotional debate over voter fraud in Missouri without considering the Election Day tumult in St. Louis on Nov. 7, 2000. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters were turned away from the polls because their names weren’t on official voter lists, and many of them converged on the city’s election board seeking assistance.

Responding to the bedlam, Democrats won an emergency court order keeping some polls open beyond their scheduled 7 p.m. closing. That outraged Republicans and Hearne, the Bush campaign lawyer, won an emergency appeals court ruling that shut the polls within an hour.

In the ensuing days, Sen. Bond blamed Ashcroft’s defeat on "a criminal enterprise."

The following summer, then Secretary of State Blunt alleged in a 47-page investigative report that the use of affidavits to allow more than 1,000 "improper ballots … compels the conclusion that there was in St. Louis an organized and successful effort to generate improper votes in large numbers."

But an investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, launched before Ashcroft settled in as U.S. attorney general in 2001, found the reverse.

As we've charged many times, in scores of The BRAD BLOG articles, Hearne then plied his trade as both an oft-quoted mouth piece in the media, and more insidiously, as a back room man, helping to create staged events like; the James Baker/Jimmy Carter chaired "Blue Ribbon National Election Reform Commission" (which, surprise surprise, ended up advocating for Photo ID measures at the polls); a recent study by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was first buried and then altered when it failed to show the evidence of "voter fraud" that Hearne and the EAC's then-chair, Paul DeGregorio, a St. Louis colleague of Hearne's, had hoped for; and most destructively, legislation in a number of states attempting to force Voter ID restrictions at the polls despite millions of citizens who would have no ID to meet the narrow provisions which have been ruled unconstitutional already in several states.

As Gordon writes:

Republican state Sen. Delbert Scott of Lowry, Mo., chief sponsor of the photo ID bill last year, said Hearne helped draft it and served as a key adviser.

Hearne did not respond to several requests for comment. His organization closed down its Internet site in March and has since disappeared from view.

Again, we encourage you to read Gordon's entire piece (and hope that he, and others who chance upon our coverage here, will peruse our detailed reports and documents on Hearne and the ACVR scam via our Special Coverage Page devoted to the matter). But before we leave you for now, a quote from Missouri's Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. in the article sums the entire issue up perfectly.

"The real problem has never been vote fraud," Clay said in a recent interview. "It’s access to the polls. In the last 50 years, no one in Missouri has been prosecuted for impersonating someone else at the polls. But thousands of eligible voters have been denied their constitutional rights … It’s sickening."

Sickening, indeed. Glad the mainstream media are finally beginning to catch on.

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
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