Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri...
Thor Hearne and his phony White House/GOP "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) front group may be officially disbanded, but that simply means their still mysteriously-funded, tax-exempt scam to push for disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at polling places around the country continues beneath the radar and by occasionally different names. Same anti-democracy thugs. Same money. A few less discredited (so far) names.
One of those names was front and center yesterday during a hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, as the huckster Hearne could be heard faintly in the distance, still pulling the strings.
When the U.S. Senate's Committee on Rules and Administration held a hearing yesterday to discuss whether Photo ID Voting Laws lead to disenfranchisement, University of Missouri academic Jeffrey Milyo was among those who were present to give testimony.
The primary reason for Milyo's inclusion in the panel was his recent publication of a study purporting to show that restrictive photo ID voting laws had no adverse effect on voter turnout in 2006 elections in Indiana. Never mind that voter turnout is not necessarily indicative of whether or not voters were disenfranchised by such laws or not. More to the point, for the moment, while Milyo's testimony poured forth easily for the committee when he was talking about his contention that Photo ID laws do not disenfranchise voters, he became less erudite when the simple question arose of how his research had been funded.
There was good reason for his sudden hemming and hawing...
Just over one hour and forty-eight minutes into the complete hearing, video of which is available online here, Milyo has an interesting exchange with committee member, Senator Chuck Schumer.
The full three-minute exchange between Schumer and Milyo is posted above right. But here's the transcript of the most pertinent point for the moment (emphasis added):
Milyo: Um, no, I would say that I, I'm a scholar of American political economy. That would include elections, uh, within that realm.
Schumer: Okay. I just want to ask you about the study you showed. That was not published in a peer reviewed journal, is that correct?
Milyo: Um, like most of the studies that have been cited that have come quickly it has not, it often takes years for that to occur.
Schumer: Did somebody either pay you for that study or ask you to do the study, or did you do it just on your own volition?
Milyo: I received a, uh, grant to look into the topic...
Schumer: From who?
Milyo: It was from, I believe, uh, an organization called the Center for Ethics Research, or something of that, uh...
Schumer: Well could you, do you know the name, they paid for the grant, I think that's important to know?
"The Center for Ethics Research"? Never heard of that outfit (neither has Google), though given the similarity in names it is quite possible that Milyo meant to say his study's funder was the Center for Ethics and the Free Market. Unlike much of the rest of Milyo's testimony, this would make sense.
Back in 2007 we did a lengthy post about the nature of the work done by the Center for Ethics and the Free Market and on the players who helped fund the Center and get it off the ground. From a post titled "Hearne Created In-State Missouri 'Voter Fraud' Front Group, Funded It With ACVR Dollars":
American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR)-- was responsible for the creation of a Missouri-based front group that issued public "reports" about topics like voter registration fraud which echoed messages being pushed at the national level by prominent GOP officials and ACVR itself. The Missouri organization, the Center for Ethics and the Free Market, was partially funded with one of the only (if not the only) monetary grant awarded by the ACVR and had its bookkeeping and non-profit filings done by Garrett Lott, a key figure in the Matt Blunt fee office management company scheme.
Among the work done by the Center for Ethics and the Free Market is "research" that tracks very closely with the "voter fraud" and "voter registration fraud" fearmongering that had been undertaken nationally by the American Center for Voting Rights.
The Center for Ethics and the Free Market was a key piece of the infrastructure built and used by Thor Hearne to stir a whirlwind of activity around never-proved claims of voter fraud and voter impersonation.
If that organization was indeed responsible for funding this most recent "academic" treatise protecting the concept of Photo ID voting laws, it is not at all surprising that Milyo would have feigned forgetfulness about his funding source at yesterday's hearing. After all, Thor Hearne has been roundly accepted as a charlatan at this point (see The BRAD BLOG's years long coverage on him and his scam since they broke the story back in 2005, right here), and being connected with one of his front groups is probably not a feather in the cap of most folks who want to be considered serious researchers and intellectuals.
And so the question remains: was it the Center for Ethics and the Free Market that paid Milyo to do the Indiana study, and if so, why should we lend it any more credence that we have any of the other dangerous and politically motivated hoaxes engineered by Thor Hearne and his lackeys?
And one more question: When will someone on Capitol Hill call in Hearne to question him under oath about where his $1 million in funding came from originally for the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR organization? He'll either have to answer and get his masters into big trouble, lie and get himself into trouble, or take the fifth...and get everyone into trouble. Schumer? Feinstein? Conyers? Anyone paying attention up there?...
Recently related on this Senate Hearing:
- DoJ a No Show at Congressional Hearing on 'Voter Fraud'
- 'Myth of Voter Fraud' Hearings to be Held This Week in Senate