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The Palm Beach Post report last night that a Florida Republican Party contractor turned in at least 106 “questionable” registration firms, with “similar signatures” and wrong addresses, doesn’t seem like a national news story. But it has unwoven a somewhat concealed effort by Republicans in several states to deploy a firm with an ugly history of allegedly destroying Democratic voter registration forms and other acts of fraud.
The contractor in Florida is called Strategic Allied Consulting, a business entity created a few months ago and registered online by a former Arizona Republican Party director named Nathan Sproul.
Sproul, a consultant based in Tempe, is infamous for accusations that his firms have committed fraud by tampering with Democratic voter registration forms and suppressing votes. Sproul was hired by the Romney campaign for a period of five months that began last November and ended in March. But now there’s evidence that the payments continued, only to a different name.
The state GOP joins the Republican Party of Florida, which also fired Sproul’s company (who accounted for the party’s largest 2012 expenditure, some $1.3 million over the last two months) after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were turned over to the FL State Attorney in Palm Beach County on Monday for investigation.
Late last year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign began paying Nathan Sproul, a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives. Sproul, who changed his firm’s name from Sproul and Associates to Lincoln Strategies, has received over $70,000 from Romney’s campaign. Much of the campaign coverage has focused on the rhetoric of surrogates and the role of high-priced television advertisements. But if Sproul continues to play a role in the campaign, and if his previous work is any guide, his firm may have an impact on key swing states.
- In Oregon and Nevada, Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — was investigated for destroying Democratic voter registration forms. The Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign paid Sproul $7.4 million for campaign work. [CNN, 10/14/04; KGW News, 10/13/04; East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]
- In Nevada, people who registered as Democrats with Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — found their names absent from the voter registration rolls. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]
- During the 2006 midterm elections, Wal-Mart banned Lincoln Strategies for partisan voter registration efforts in Tennessee. The Republican National Committee had hired the firm. [Associated Press, 08/24/06]
- In Arizona, Lincoln Strategies employed a variety of deceptive tactics — including systematically lying about the bill — to push a ballot initiative to eviscerate the state’s clean elections law. [Salon, 10/21/04]
- Lincoln Strategies, then employed by the Republican Party, was behind efforts to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in states such as Arizona. [American Prospect, 06/25/04]
The firm is still said to be operating in key battleground states like Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, where a young lady who may have been working for the contractor was caught on a disturbing viral video tape published over the weekend. The young lady, who was hired by “a third-party contractor” retained by the Colorado State Republican Party, as their Communications Director confirmed to The BRAD BLOG on Wednesday, is seen on the tape asking a potential registrant whether she would vote for Obama or Romney before she would allow her to fill out a voter registration form.
Mark Binker at North Carolina’s WRAL is reporting today that NC GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood says, “The NCGOP takes any threat to the voting process very seriously. We have terminated our relationship with Strategic Allied Consultants.” The spokesman also added that the state GOP claims to have no other vendor doing similar work in the state.
According to Binker, before the NC GOP fired Strategic Allied today, Democrats were preparing to release a statement decrying their involvement with the disreputable firm of Romney’s paid political consultant, Sproul. The statement from Rep. Larry Hall was to have included:
North Carolina Republicans have spared no time or expense in their efforts to limit democracy and keep North Carolinians out of the democratic process. North Carolina is fortunate that Democrats fought against GOP efforts to pass discriminatory voter ID laws. Now Republicans are using this unethical and shady firm to try to get a leg up in this election … I am calling on the North Carolina Republican Party to denounce this group and their shameful tactics and to immediately fire this firm.
The Coup-De-Grois in my opinion has been convincing people of the cognitive dissonance of both parties being the same-while also painting the Democrats as criminals.