The man who stole the 2004 election for George W. Bush -- Ohio Secretary
of State J. Kenneth Blackwell -- has posted a picture of himself addressing
the white supremacist ultra-right Council for National Policy (CNP). He then
pulled the picture and tried to hide his participation in the meeting by removing
mention of it from his website, kenblackwell.com.
First discovered by a netroots investigator (uaprogressiveaction.com), Blackwell's
photo at the CNP meeting was found on Blackwell's website on Monday, March 6.
Then it mysteriously disappeared.
Blackwell has ample reason to hide his ties to the CNP. When the Free Press
investigated the CNP and its ties to the Republican Party, Chip Berlet of Political
Research Associates told the paper that the CNP included "a former Ku Klux
Klan leader and other segregationist policies." Berlet emphasizes that
these "shocking" charges are easy to verify.
Berlet describes CNP members as not only traditional conservatives, but also
nativists, xenophobes, white racial supremacists, homophobes, sexists, militarists,
authoritarians, reactionaries and "in some cases outright neo-fascists."
Some well-known figures affiliated with the CNP include Rev. Jerry Falwell,
anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly and the Rev. Pat Robertson. But its the lesser-known
CNP mainstays that are more indicative of the organization's politics. They
Richard Shoff, a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Indiana.
John McGoff, an ardent supporter of the former apartheid South African regime.
R.J. Rushdoony, the theological leader of America's "Christian Reconstruction"
movement, which advocates that Christian fundamentalists take "dominion"
over America by abolishing democracy and instituting Old Testament Law. Rushdoony's
Reconstructionalists believe that "homosexuals . . . adulterers , blasphemers,
astrologers and others will be executed," along with disobedient children.
Reed Larson, head of anti-union National Right to Work Committee.
Don Wildmon, TV censorship activist and accused anti-Semite.
Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other
principals from the Iran-Contra Scandal.
Investigative reporter Russ Bellant, author of OLD NAZIS, THE NEW RIGHT AND
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY;THE RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT IN MICHIGAN POLITICS; and THE COORS
CONNECTION, told the Free Press that the "membership of the Council comprises
the elite of the radical right in America."
Blackwell is not the only Ohio Republican with ties to white supremacists,
according to Bellant. He found ties between Senator George Voinovich and members
of fascist groups formerly from Eastern and Southern Europe living in the Cleveland
In 1997, the Free Press disclosed that then-Republican Speaker Pro Tempore
of the Ohio House, William G. Batchelder, was listed as a member of the little-known
and highly secretive cabal, the CNP. Bellant told the Free Press in 1997, "the
CNP is attempting to create a concentration of power to rival and eventually
eclipse traditional centers of power in the U.S." Batchelder's wife Alice
sits on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and was recently considered for the
U.S. Supreme Court.
The CNP was founded in 1981. Moral Majority Leader Tim LaHaye assumed the presidency
with the backing of Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt. In 1982, Tom Ellis
succeeded LaHaye as CNP president. Ellis was a director of the Pioneer Fund,
a foundation that finances efforts to prove that African-Americans are genetically
inferior to whites. Recipients of past Pioneer Fund grants include eugenicist
William Shockley, Arthur Jensen and Roger Pearson. Pearson is on record advocating
that "inferior races" should be "exterminated."
Newsweek reported that the CNP's first executive director, Louisiana State
Representative Woody Jenkins, told CNP members, "I believe that one day
before the end of this century, the Council will be so influential that no president,
regardless of party, or philosophy, will be able to ignore us or our concerns
or shut us out of the highest levels of government."
In 1999, GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush appeared before the secretive
white supremacists at a gathering in San Antonio. Bush refused to make public
his comments before the group. The CNP may have reached its intended goal of
eclipsing all other power groups in U.S. politics when Bush took the presidency
Jeremy Leaming and Rob Boston, writing for the Americans United for Separation
of Church and State, detail the sordid history of the CNP in their article "Who
Is The Council For National Policy And What Are They Up To? And Why Don't They
Want You To Know?"
Blackwell is Ohio's Secretary of State, and a Republican candidate for governor.
He was a highly visible "on the ground" player in the Bush election
theft in Florida 2000. On Election Day 2004, he met in Columbus with Bush and
Karl Rove to solidify plans for winning the Buckeye State's 20 electoral votes,
which turned the election to Bush. Blackwell's extremely controversial handling
of the election and the vote count have the prompted widespread belief that
it, too, was stolen. The results ran counter to the historically accurate exit
polls, and Blackwell has stonewalled three successive court battles against
public scrutiny of the results and has resisted a verified, accurate recount.
The idea of an African-American like Blackwell speaking to a racist cabal like
the CNP may seem incongruous. But Blackwell has been courting extremist right
wing support for a long time. Most importantly he has been embraced and supported
by Rev. Rob Parsley of the powerful World Harvest Church. Parsley is a wealthy
right-wing extremist with a powerful grassroots network throughout the state,
and a major stake in Blackwell's taking to the governorship. No Republican has
ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. With Blackwell's continued control
of the voting apparatus, the CNP and Republican Party could well step into an
era of unchallenged national domination.
Not surprisingly, Blackwell and a few CNP members share crucial ties to the
election/vote counting industry.
The electronic voting machine industry is dominated by only a few corporations
- Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S) and Sequoia. Together,
Diebold and ES&S count an estimated 80% of U.S. black box electronic votes.
In the early 1980s, brothers Bob and Todd Urosevich founded ES&S's seminal
corporation, Data Mark. The brothers Urosevich obtained financing from relatives
of the far-Right-wing CNP-linked Howard Ahmanson in 1984, who purchased a 68%
ownership stake, according to the Omaha World Herald. Ahmanson has also been
a chief financier of Rushdoony's Christian Reconstruction movement.
Brothers William and Robert Ahmanson, cousins of Howard, infused Data Mark
with new capital. The name was changed to American Information Systems (AIS).
The Ahmanson brothers have claimed that they have no ties to their more well-known
But in 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that Howard and Roberta Ahmanson
were important funders of the Discovery Institute, a fount of extremist right-wing
publications, including much that pushes creationism in California schools.
The Times said the Institute's " $1-million annual program has produced
25 books, a stream of conferences and more than 100 fellowships for doctoral
and postdoctoral research."
According to Group Watch, in the 1980s Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. was a member
of the CNP. Heir to a savings and loan fortune, Ahmanson is little reported
on in the mainstream U.S. press. But, English papers like The Independent are
more informative. They list Ahmanson alongside Richard Mellon Scaife, one of
the most important of all right-wing money men. "Such figures as Richard
Mellon Scaife and Howard Ahmanson have given hundreds of millions of dollars
over several decades to political projects both high (setting up the Heritage
Foundation think-tank, the driving engine of the Reagan presidency) and low
(bankrolling investigations into President Clinton's sexual indiscretions and
the suicide of the White House insider Vincent Foster)," wrote The Independent
The Sunday Mail described an individual as, ". . . a fundamentalist Christian
more in the mould of U.S. multi-millionaire Howard Ahmanson, Jr., who uses his
fortune to promote so-called traditional family values.. . . By waving fortunes
under their noses, Ahmanson has the ability to cajole candidates into backing
his right-wing Christian agenda."
Ahmanson is also a chief contributor to the Chalcedon Institute that supports
the Christian reconstruction movement. The movement's philosophy advocates,
among other things, "mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards."
The Ahmanson brothers sold their shares in American Information Systems to
the McCarthy Group and the World Herald Company, Inc. Republican Senator Chuck
Hagel disclosed in public documents that he was the Chairman of American Information
Systems and claimed between a $1 to 5 million investment in the McCarthy Group.
In 1997, American Information Systems purchased Business Records Corp. (BRC),
formerly Texas-based election company Cronus Industries, to become ES&S.
One of the BRC owners was Carolyn Hunt of the right-wing Hunt oil family, which
supplied much of the original money for the Council on National Policy.
The presence of Ahmanson relatives and Hunt's sister in e-voting software may
be a coincidence. But it certainly raises questions as to why family members
of anti-democratic forces are getting heavily involved in non-transparent election
software. And why they are forging ties to the man in charge of counting votes
in Ohio elections.
In 1996, Hagel became the first elected Republican Nebraska senator in 24 years
when he did surprisingly well in an election where the votes were verified by
the company he served as chairman, and in which he maintained a financial investment.
In both his successful 1996 and 2002 campaigns, Hagel's ES&S counted an
estimated 80% of his winning votes. Due to the contracting out of services,
confidentiality agreements between the State of Nebraska and the company kept
this matter out of the public eye. Hagel's first election victory was described
as a "stunning upset" by one Nebraska newspaper.
Hagel's official biography states, "Prior to his election to the U.S.
Senate, Hagel worked in the private sector as the President of McCarthy and
Company, an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Nebraska and served as Chairman
of the Board of American Information Systems." During the first Bush presidency,
Hagel served as Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the 1990 Economic
Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit).
Bob Urosevich was the Programmer and CEO at AIS, before being replaced by Hagel.
Bob later headed Diebold Election Systems, but resigned prior to the 2004 election.
His brother Todd is a top executive at ES&S. Bob created Diebold's original
electronic voting machine software.
Thus, the brothers Urosevich, originally funded by the far Right, figure in
the counting of approximately 80% of electronic votes cast in the United States.
That J. Kenneth Blackwell would now address an organization so thoroughly entwined
with the extreme right wing and the electronic voting machine industry can hardly
be seen as an accident. Blackwell's active presence in both Florida 2000 and
Ohio 2004 make him a critical player in the rise of the Bush regime. As governor
of Ohio, he could solidify Republican control of presidential elections for
decades to come.
Toward that end, the GOP-controlled Ohio legislature has passed a series of
laws making it virtually impossible to monitor electronic voting in the state,
or to challenge the outcome of a federal election here. The Free Press has also
learned that county election board officials, in Blackwell's employ, have stripped
nearly a half-million voters from the registration rolls in the key Democratic
urban areas of Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati.
None of this has been seriously challenged by Ohio or national Democrats. And
with Blackwell in the governor's mansion, in control of the state's vote counting
apparatus, the Democrats will have virtually no chance of ever retaking control
of the Ohio legislature, Congressional delegation or, for that matter, the White
Small wonder the powerful right wing extremist Council on National Policy would
overlook its racist history to embrace an African-American like J. Kenneth Blackwell.
Small wonder, also, Blackwell might want to hide what will certainly be a powerful
and profitable association for him in his rise to the Ohio governor's mansion
… and beyond.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of
HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, available at