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Thursday, September 27, 2012

To quote the GOP, "Oh sh*t!"

Strategic Allied Consulting, a right-wing voter registration and get out the vote (GOTV) firm run by veteran GOP consultant Nathan Sproul, has been fired the Republican National Committee, (RNC) the Republican Party of Florida, the Republican Party of North Carolina, and the Republican Party of Virginia, upon news that Palm Beach County, Florida’s Supervisor of Elections initially identifying 106 out of 304 voter registration forms as potentially fraudulent. The forms were flagged for what appeared to be phony signatures, and the use of bogus home addresses that matched the street names and numbers corresponding to a gas station, a medical building and a Land Rover dealership. According to Federal Election Committee records, the Republican Party of Florida has paid Sproul’s firm $1.3 thus far this year, and the RNC has paid the group approximately $3 million for work in Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia.

GOP officials and the attorney for Sproul’s firm have issued the following statements:

“We have zero tolerance for any threat to the integrity of elections. When we were informed of an alleged incident we immediately cut all ties to the company,” said RNC Communications Director, Sean Spicer.

“We immediately informed the RNC that we were terminating the contract with the voter-registration vendor we haired at their request because there is no place for voter-registration fraud in Florida,” said Republican Party of Florida Executive Director, Mike Grissom.

“Strategic has a zero tolerance policy for breaking the law… We were able to trace all questionable cards to one individual and immediately terminated our working relationship with the individual in question. Strategic… will continue to cooperate with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to ensure that this issue is resolved,” said Strategic Allied Consulting attorney, Fred Petti.

Taking no chances, Sproul’s firm has pulled down its website. Any attempt to visit the online home of Strategic Allied Consulting will be met by a splash page containing the statement quoted above that clicks through to a recurring “not found” error message.

The Electoral College map projected by Real Clear Politics, reflecting national poll averages and accompanying trends, now shows President Obama with a projected 265 electoral votes. The path to the presidency requires 270 electoral votes. Assuming the accuracy of Real Clear Politics’ model, seven swing states are the most hotly contested, and critical: Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia. It is unclear what cutting ties with Sproul’s firm will mean to the Romney operation. But if Strategic Allied Consulting is found to be guilty of voter registration fraud in Florida, it opens the door to challenges to the work they’ve done in other battlegrounds, namely, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia.

This is not the first time smoke has been smelled around Sproul’s firm.

As reported by The Nation, “Sproul… is infamous for accusations that his firms have committed fraud by tampering with Democratic voter registration forms and suppressing votes… Brad Friedman has put up a history of Sproul’s companies, and their work for Republican interests. They range from antics like gathering signatures to put Nader on the ballot and being banned from Walmart for partisan voting drives to more serious offenses, like allegedly destroying Democratic registration forms in several states while on the payroll of the RNC…

In 2004, a voter registration worker in Nevada hired by Sproul’s firm told reporters that he had witnessed his surpervisors chucking registration forms signed by Democrats. ‘They were thrown away in the trash,’ he claimed. Sproul’s canvassers in Oregon confessed to doing the same thing, and other reports emerged across several swing states. In Minnesota, workers said they were actually fired for bringing in registration forms signed by Democrats. CBS News obtained faxes showing that Sproul’s firm had even impersonated the left-leaning America Votes! to organize voter registration drives at libraries…

Sam Stein reported that in 2004, Senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy had demanded an investigation in light of the many reports of Sproul’s firm destroying registration forms. But the Department of Justice sat on its hands. ‘Sproul & Associates clearly merited a full investigation by the Justice Department; and yet the DoJ did nothing,’ said New York University law professor Mark Miller at the Cannon hearing…

As Congress and ethics experts loudly called for investigations into Sproul’s voter suppression, the Bush administration literally welcomed Sproul and his wife into the White House for a Christmas party in 2006—while almost only prosecuting groups associated with registering low-income and poor Americans to vote.”

Ongoing battles over the impact of hyper-partisan state redistricting maps, new curtailments on third party voter registration, early voting limits, fewer vote by mail opportunities, and requirements to present state issued photo identification cards before being allowed to vote reflect the cynicism of white Americans about the role Americans of color will play in the electorate.

Lest we forget, the majority of Republicans do not believe that President Obama actually won the election in 2008. And 55% of Republicans believe that Barack Obama is not a US born citizen and therefore not qualified to be President.

These facts notwithstanding, when Republican legislators introduced 180 restrictive bills in 41 states, beginning in 2011 they did so in the name of "stopping election fraud."

Based on the current allegations of illegal and unethical practices against Strategic Allied Consulting, and Sproul's history of shenanigans, the real questions are:

What do all of these legislators, beginning with, House Republican Leader Mike Turzai, have to say about these charges?

Where do the chief beneficiaries of this fraud and abuse, GOP-nominee, Mitt Romney, and sidekick, Paul Ryan, stand?


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