THE BLOG

Baked-Cooked Election Reform

We can all breath a sigh of relief at having had James A. Baker III single-handedly rescue US elections from the clenched jaws of dirty tricksters like Jim Dyke, election reform charlatans like Thor Hearne, and corporate wise guys from the likes of Diebold.

Oops, Dyke, Hearne, and Diebold were the experts and panelists for the Baker-Carter -- blue-blooded, blue-ribbon, blue-light special on honor -- Commission on Federal Election Reform (or something).

For some reason yet to be determined by any rational creature or even slightly rational mental health professional, Jimmy Carter co-hosted this bullshit extravaganza.

Recently, the Commission birthed out a report to better enhance voter disenfranchisement, err, integrity, which not surprisingly met opposition from the 2+2=4 crowd, darn them, those factualists are always in the way.

In celebration of the report (it needs a pretty name, like Homeland Voting Honor Roll), I have decided to post an article, in part, that I did a while back, when this group first banded together all Gannon-like.

PARTISANS DISCUSS 'REFORM'

Questions surface regarding legitimacy of Baker-Carter election reform commission

By Larisa Alexandrovna | RAW STORY Staff

Published April 15, 2005

Serious questions of conservative partisanship have surfaced surrounding an electoral reform commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and erstwhile Secretary of State James Baker, RAW STORY has learned.

The Carter Center denies any involvement with the Baker-Carter Commission on Federal Election Reform even though they are on much of its literature. Carter stepped down from the center in March.

Perhaps most significant, however, is the partisan makeup of those on the Commission's panels. In a situation reminiscent of GOPUSA and Gannongate, a recent election reform group has seemingly sprouted from nowhere and in short order landed a seat at the table.

As revealed earlier by Brad Friedman of Bradblog.com, The American Center for Voting Rights appeared on the election reform scene less than a month ago. It is led by GOP operative and election attorney Mark F. ("Thor") Hearne who also managed to appear as the only voting rights group to Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) recent House Administrative Committee hearings on Ohio voting issues during the 2004 election.

ACVR is not, however, the only controversial entity to appear as either a witness or a panelist before the Baker-Carter Commission.

Highly Credentialed Republican "Non-Partisans"

Hearne, who delivered a 31-page document to Ney's Committee assessing Ohio's 2004 election issues, did not reveal during the hearings that he was until very recently the national general counsel for the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign.

Hearne was also general counsel to Gov. Matt Blunt (R–MO) for the 2004 election; counsel to the Bush/Cheney '04 ticket; and also served as an attorney for the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign.

The contact for ACVR is also a Republican operative, former communications director for the Republican National Committee Jim Dyke.

Dyke pioneered "astroturf" letters, or letters to the editor that appear to be written by constituents but instead are drafted by political operatives. During the 2004 election, Dyke traveled the country creating what appear to be front groups to disseminate anti-Kerry disinformation. He was also the source of many of the registration irregularity complaints generated in Ohio, and recently set up a Social Security lobby group.

As a spokesman for the RNC, Dyke commented on the Purple Heart bandages he helped distribute: "Democrats continue to try and hide their own candidates' many positions on the same issue (Iraq) by attacking the president's leadership."

ACVR, which is neatly located at a Texas P.O. Box, was invited to join the Baker-Carter Commission on Federal Election Reform within weeks of its formation.

To help publicize ACVR, team Dyke and Hearne turned to Cybercast News Service, which has intimate connections to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign, Unfit for Command—a character assassination of Kerry's Vietnam years—and to the CBS memo controversy through a mutual relationship with Creative Response Concepts a PR firm that deals in political battles.

Mapping It Out:

The mysteries surrounding ACVR as well as its various connections to highly partisan groups, to some of the members of the commission and to some of the witnesses and speakers are so complex that RAW STORY had to create a visual representation of entanglements in order to better clarify on how this group may have developed. (Click on map below to see in full)

hearne.gif

After seeing the full map, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who held Congressional hearings on Ohio's election irregularities and fueled the effort for the Ohio electoral challenge, issued the following statement Thursday.

"These connections truly are astounding," Conyers said. "It apparently wasn't enough that Republican officials helped sway the election in favor of Bush—now they've even created a phony voting rights group to combat the real work that progressives are doing to make sure that every vote is counted."

Feel free to read the rest of the article HERE