It was almost three years ago that The BRAD BLOG first spotted the
conspiracy long-range business plan being fronted for the Republicans by GOP con-man/operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II. The scheme became immediately transparent, to those who wished to see it, when his brand-spanking new "voting rights" group scam, calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), popped up at a phony Congressional hearing on the 2004 Election, in March of 2005, as chaired by the now-jailed felon from Ohio, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Abramoff).
Hearne had identified himself at the hearing only as "a longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experienced in election law," conveniently omitting that he had been the very partisan national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and had founded the "non-partisan" ACVR with his "non-partisan" partner, Jim Dyke, who had previously been the communication director for the RNC. (Shortly thereafter, the "non-partisan" Dyke went on to work for the "non-partisan" Dick Cheney at the White House, and now fronts for the "non-partisan" Rudy Giuliani.)
We spent a good portion of the ensuing three years with our hair on fire, trying to wave red flags about the transparent scheme/propaganda that Hearne was selling: Phonied up data on a non-existent "epidemic" of "Democratic Voter Fraud" in order to force restrictive Photo ID laws at the polling place, meant only to keep millions of largely Democratic-leaning minority and elderly voters from being able to cast a legal vote at all.
But the mission had been accomplished, and the foothold the Republican scammers needed had already been established, with laws such as Indiana's Photo ID restriction that is now headed towards a hearing in the Supreme Court. The results of the decision could well help determine the outcome of the 2008 elections.
UPDATE: Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld picks up on this precise issue today, reporting on how the rightwing "ballot security" operatives are arguing to the Supreme Court in favor of pre-emptive voter challenges at the poll, without the necessity of having to show that any such voter fraud is actually occurring. As well, they are building their legal case on the idea that "fear of" voter fraud is enough to demand such onerous ID requirements, even though it is the same "right-wing activists who spent years creating and publicizing a myth of widespread voter fraud," who are now making the case that "perception of potentially corrupted elections is yet another reason why states should be allowed to police the voting process with new restrictions such as voter ID laws." These wingnut zealot bullshit artists are the best in the business. If you consider "best" to be most evil and "business" to be our frickin' American democracy.
Despite Hearne's claims, made earlier this year to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that The BRAD BLOG made it impossible for him to run his scam without public/media notice, the huckster is still at it. He's just filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, on behalf of 41 GOP Congress members.
You didn't think he'd just slither back under his rock and stay there, did you?...
You can find the brief here. This time the "evidence" of voter fraud comes from statements of members of Congress (see brief at 15-17), most of them related to unproven anecdotes of voter fraud as well as types of voter fraud (such as mail in balloting voter fraud allegedly done in the names of dogs) that an in person voter id law would do nothing to prevent.
Republican fraudsters like Hearne don't just go away, even after they've been exposed. Like any accomplished grifter, they just find a new place to hang their shingle, and keep selling the same old, anti-American, anti-democratic bullshit to a corporatized media all too willing to gobble it up as if he was little more than another "expert" on the issue of election law.
Is there any doubt that NPR will be ringing Thor's phone off the hook by morning?
Even though Thor is working for new pimps (more likely the same pimps, new "division") Democrats have allowed the scheme to go on for so long, without check, that he's really not even necessary any more. Voter purging, voter caging and Thor's brand of disenfranchisment propaganda have now been officially mainlined inside Bush's Dept. of Justice who also filed a similar amicus brief, even though the Indiana case is a state, rather than federal issue.
So Thor's work here is largely done. But since it's tough to teach old whores new tricks...well, you get the idea.
And all the while, we still have no record of who funded Thor's "non-partisan" 501(c)3 ACVR shop to the tune of nearly a million dollars to help kick off these festivities just after the '04 election. But since Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties says he's pissed off about all of this, perhaps someone on Capitol Hill could finally haul Hearne in --- under oath --- and ask him a few questions about who has been paying his bills for the last couple of years?
Or, as 2008 continues to fall apart for them, the Dems can just keep issuing indignant press statements. That'll learn 'em. Rove and Hearne are shuddering in their boots.