P.S. Yes, I'm safely out of the mountains and just now beginning to get caught up with --- and make sense of --- the mountains of stuff that I very happily missed over the past week.
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
P.S. Yes, I'm safely out of the mountains and just now beginning to get caught up with --- and make sense of --- the mountains of stuff that I very happily missed over the past week.
[This article cross-published by Salon...]
Full Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG has not been shy in calling out Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for some fairly outrageous stuff over the years.
Who can forget, for example, the time when, as Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 2005, he shut down the microphones and lights in the middle of an oversight hearing on the PATRIOT Act when he did not approve of the testimony offered by witnesses called by Democrats?
It was outrageous, it was inappropriate, and we reported it as such at the time, just as we did in 2011 when, in a bit of déjà vu, he similarly shut down a town hall event in WI after protesters there expressed outrage over the Republicans' radical anti-union law recently adopted in the state.
So it is with much sincerity and great appreciation that we "call him out" today, not for outrageous behavior, but for his outspoken and unwavering support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, after the very heart of that landmark civil rights legislation has been violently carved out by a 5 to 4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June...
On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I covered both the nation's most extreme voter suppression law in North Carolina (and the facts behind its passage) and the precedent setting verdict in the Bradley Manning case.
But at the heart of it all is something else --- a primal, patriot scream perhaps, as exemplified by the arrest of 83-year old Robert Plummer, Jr. at the state capitol in NC last week (Plummer is a Korean War hero who was also arrested on the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Martin Luther King on Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL during the 1965 march for voting rights, and by the arrests of 80- and 85-year old Joan and Tom Kemble for singing in the Wisconsin state capitol in the same dark week.
The Kembles joined me live on the show to talk about their arrests at the daily sing-along that has been going on every day since Gov. Scott Walker's radical anti-union bill was passed two years ago, and to sing a song or two before their next trip to the pokey for peacefully singing in protest to petition their government for redress of grievances. (Please help all of the WI arrestees pay their legal bills and fines at SolidaritySingAlong.org!)
As usual, there was much more, including Desi Doyen and the latest Green News Report, in between. I hope you'll give it a listen. I think you'll enjoy it.
Download MP3 or listen online below...
[This article now cross-published by Salon.]
Late Thursday night, the North Carolina state legislature approved a radical voter suppression bill on a party line vote. The measure, easily the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era, now heads to Republican Governor Pat McCrory for his signature. Court challenges, many of them, will most assuredly follow.
I discussed the Tar Heel State Republicans' horrendous voter suppression law as it moved through the state legislature earlier this week in an article focused on the public pushback against both it, and other radical laws being hurriedly enacted in the state while the Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the state house, as well as the Governorship there. It's the first time in 150 years that that has been the case, and the GOP is making all they can of it, voters be damned.
I also discussed the bill on this week's KPFK BradCast. But I want to highlight just how draconian this massive restriction on voting rights actually is in North Carolina, which, until the complete Republican takeover of the state government in 2012 (thanks to gerrymandering in 2010), had actually been a fairly progressive state by southeast standards, particularly in regard to voting laws.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent gutting of the important pre-clearance provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act --- the provision which had required states with histories of racial discrimination, like NC, to obtain federal approval before making any changes to voting laws --- NC and other states now "freed" from the yoke of not being able to discriminate, have been on a tear to pass discriminatory laws previously denied under the VRA.
NC has now done that in a way that no other state has yet even tried. They have, in essence, included in this bill every conceivable voter suppression tactic that has ever been dreamed up over the past decade by the Republican Party --- and then some.
UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen described the bill as "a nightmare for voting-rights advocates."
It includes draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions (despite any evidence of polling place impersonation in the state), shortens the early voting period and eliminates NC's very successful same-day voter registration program. "But," Hasen adds, "it’s also a laundry list of ways to make it harder for people to vote, and which cannot plausibly be justified on antifraud grounds."
Just take a look at the list of some of the other provisions including in this "nightmare" of an anti-democratic --- as well as anti-Democratic --- voter suppression bill...
I've always wondered why non-Rightwing Christians have allowed Rightwingers to take "God" and "Jesus" as their own, particularly since progressive principles are far more in line with those said to be the teachings of Jesus.
The folks in North Carolina --- who are now under siege by Republican control of both congressional houses and the governorship for the first time in 150 years --- have been going about reclaiming the moral high ground with a series of massive (and growing larger) "Moral Monday" protests at the state house, so far resulting in about 900 arrests for civil disobedience as of this week's twelfth consecutive Monday protest.
The protests are being held by a wide coalition of groups in response to the radical Republican legislation --- much of it written out of state by the Koch-funded corporatist lobby, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) --- meant to see the state government shut down women's health clinics, cut education funding and, of particular note, suppress voters by truncating early voting, ending Sunday voting, banning NC's successful Election Day registration program, instituting tax penalties to parents whose children vote at their college residences, and by putting in place draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions. (See Ari Berman today at The Nation for more on the NC Republican's attempt to institute all of these "extreme voter suppression measures".)
At Salon, Kristin Rawls explains that the "Moral Monday" protests in NC, "that include support for LGBT and abortion rights", seem to be "confounding to the Tea Party", but not to the many groups of faith (as well as "atheists, agnostics and members of other faiths in attendance every week") who are finally taking back the moral high ground from the Rightwing hypocrites who have claimed it, but never earned it, for so much of the past decade.
It's an interesting read, and an interesting phenomenon that, Rawls notes, "is supported by a 150-organization coalition spearheaded by the NC-NAACP that includes everything from Occupy Raleigh to Planned Parenthood-NC to the NC Association of Educators."
Her point about why the voter suppression laws Republicans are now trying to pass are so important for the NC GOP radicals, is explained in this key passage...
An ambitious election reform bill supported by state Democrats and the Colorado County Clerks Association, which is largely made up of Republicans, will soon land on the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the objections of Republican lawmakers and the state's extraordinarily partisan Republican Sec. of State.
The bill has now been approved by both chambers of the Colorado legislature --- along party lines in each --- but must be approved again in the House due to "technical" amendments from the Senate. But while it may be too late, partisans and lawmakers would have been wise to look carefully before leaping in support of this bill which offers both excellent reforms and reasons to be very concerned about one of its central provisions.
John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent offered a detailed report earlier this week on the major concerns and somewhat confusing partisan divides on both sides of this particular piece of legislation.
There's a lot of good, long-overdue provisions in the sweeping, 126-page bill [PDF] (mercifully summarized on pages 2 through 4). The key provisions --- and main points of contention --- are summarized this way by Tomasic:
Tomasic goes on to explain that the bill, dubbed "The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act", is sponsored by Democrats in both the CO House and Senate, but it's "based on a plan approved by a large bipartisan majority of clerks who run the state’s elections county to county. The Colorado County Clerks Association reports that 75 percent of the 64 clerks in the state support the bill. The Association is anything but a left-wing cabal: At least 44 of the clerks, some 70 percent, are Republican officeholders."
The politics on this one may be understandably confusing to some --- particularly with a former Republican Sec. of State favoring the bill, and the current Republican Sec. of State ardently opposing it --- but the professed concerns of the latter (that the expanded registration provisions will lead to "voter fraud") are largely nonsense. While the advocacy of the former (pushing broad expansion of vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the state) ignores very real fraud concerns...
Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott's announcement yesterday would be somewhat akin to George W. Bush asking then FEMA Chief, Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown to head up a review of how FEMA and the Federal government performed in responding to Hurricane Katrina. Or, perhaps asking Karl Rove or Dick Cheney to get to the bottom of that whole Valerie Plame outing thing.
The only worse, less independent person who could possibly be chosen to head up a "review" of what went wrong in this year's disastrous election in Florida would be Scott himself.
But since his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner carried out every single one of Scott's horrendous, un-American orders to restrict voting and voter registration and to try and toss eligible voters off the rolls this year, resulting in even active-duty military voters getting purged, all while ignoring actual, massive voter registration fraud carried out by the Republican Party of Florida itself (until it could no longer be ignored), it may as well be Scott himself in charge of this so-called "review" in which Detzner has been assigned to tell us all why it was that, among other things, voters were still in line trying to cast their votes at 2am on Wednesday morning in Miami-Dade, even as the President of the United States was delivering his re-election victory speech in Chicago.
Heckuva job, Scottie!
Scott has already, repeatedly since Election Day, declared that he did "the right thing" by slashing Early Voting from 14 days to just 8 in Florida this year, and then refusing to expand those hours on the weekend before the election --- unlike both of his Republican predecessors Governors Charlie Crist and even Jeb Bush --- once it became clear that voters were standing in line for 6, 7 hours and longer simply trying to cast their vote...
Way to go, Florida GOP! Now you've disenfranchised overseas active duty military members too, according to Tampa's CBS affiliate 10 News...
Valrico resident and Navy Captain Peter Kehrig, who has been abroad for five years tells 10 News he feels cheated by a system that removed him from the rolls.
Florida State Law requires county supervisor of elections offices to perform regular "maintenance" on its voter rolls to eliminate voters who have been convicted of felonies, moved out of the county, or may have died.
Voters who miss two consecutive general elections (2010 and 2008, for instance) are mailed a letter to their residence warning them they will be removed from the rolls. But since the post office only forwards mail for six months, Kehrig never got it.
Kehrig is one of about 30 active and reserve service members who have contacted the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections' office about the discovery, but October 8 was the last day the law allows a voter to register for the general election. Other Tampa Bay-area counties reported small numbers of complaints too.
"It's not just a right that I've earned by being an American," Kehrig said of voting, "but I've (been) trying to protect our country and I really believe it's a right I'm being denied."
Kehrig has served in the military for more than 30 years, including time at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Now you can save time and be disenfranchised from anywhere!...
Once again, as they're coming in too fast for us to fully dig in to most of these, but you should know about them, so here's our quick round-up, for now, of the latest...
• Maricopa County, AZ Gives Wrong Election Date to Hispanic Voters. Again.: The largest county in AZ, the one with Phoenix in it, admitted last week that materials for Hispanic voters had incorrectly given the date of the November 6 election as November 8. They said it was a small error that didn't affect a lot of voters. This week, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department admits that they did it again: "Yvonne Reed confirms to ABC15 that bookmarks distributed by the elections department incorrectly listed the date of the general election in Spanish as November 8. The flip side of the bookmark correctly lists the date in English as November 6. Reed tells ABC15 the bookmarks were distributed at the three election counters throughout Maricopa County and that the department has no way of knowing exactly how many people received the bookmarks."
• 13,000 La Porte County, IN Voters Wrongly Purged by GOP Officials: "Back in 2011, some 800 voters were supposed to be purged from the La Porte County voter registration system. Instead, more than 13,000 got the boot and now the voter registration office is scrambling to get them online before Nov. 6." La Porte Dems are calling for a federal investigation. Over at DailyKos, blogger Dan Briggs explains how it happened.
• Fake Voter Purge Letters Sent to Florida Voters: The phony letters have shown up in 23 counties, so far, warning voters they have 15 days to show up at the local Supervisor of Elections office and prove their citizenship, or they'll be removed from the rolls. Unlike the very real letters sent in FL Gov. Rick Scott and Sec. of State Ken Detzner's failed "non-citizen" voter purge earlier this year, these letters are forgeries meant to look real. "The letters mimic notices that local election officials did send out to voters this past spring and summer when the state began a process of trying to purge the voter rolls of noncitizens who were illegally registered to vote. The original process, which identified 2,600 voters as noncitizens, was fraught with problems and incorrectly targeted hundreds of naturalized citizens. ... [FL State Dept. Spokesman Chris] Cate said that the department was still collecting information and has notified all the election supervisors of the problem. He urged Florida voters who receive anything similar to contact election officials immediately." On Wednesday, the FBI joined in the investigation.
As we've yet to see a copy of the fake letter or email warning about it sent to FL's county Supervisors of Elections on Monday posted online, we've posted both of them here, since we received a copy from a source earlier this week.
• Touch-Screen Vote-flipping in VA: And so it begins again. Expect many more of these in the days ahead, as usual, particularly in states like VA which continue to have so little respect for voters that most are forced to cast their votes on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. An email sent to Fairfax County, VA Democrats on Wednesday warns: "We have received several reports of touch screen voting machines switching the names on the ballot before the vote is cast." It goes on to advise voters who experience the problem to "Stop and alert the Election Officer - don't vote on that machine; Record the number of the voting machine; Record the name and phone number of the voter affected" and then to notify the local Democratic office immediately. We'd also add you should notify the Sec. of State, the local media and call 866-OUR-VOTE if this should happen to you.
The Fairfax Dems also offer this very sage advice: "Also, we encourage voters to use paper ballots (optical scan machine) where available." But good luck finding paper ballots in VA. (If you can still vote absentee there, please do, but deliver the paper ballot in person on Election Day, if possible!)
When touch-screen machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service immediately and quarantined. Unfortunately, most election officials allow technicians to try and re-calibrate the machines while they are in "Election Mode" and most vulnerable to manipulation. It's insane. We've been saying the same thing for years now, but few election officials seem to give a damn.
• Kochs team up with religious groups to target voters: Our friend journalist Zach Roberts, part of Greg Palast's intrepid team, obtained audio recordings from a fundraiser at a Focus on the Family-related group in Alaska where the man who runs the Rightwing outfit there boasted of their new affiliation with the Koch Brothers, the million-dollar voter targeting database they'd acquired from them, and the fact that, in the wake of Citizens United, political and religious groups may now work together more seamlessly than ever. Said the Alaska Family Council and Alaska Family Action President Jim Minnery at the event: "And so, the organization Alaska Family Action has the same board; I'm still the person in charge of that organization. We literally have to switch the light switch off and on when [laughter from crowd] we have a board meeting, because we have to be a separate nonprofit corporation according to IRS regulations." Also in attendance at the event: former Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman (R) and Alaskan Gov. Sean Parnell (R). Roberts also reports that "Thirty-eight states with 'family healthy councils' across the country are in the midst of forming action groups and working with the Koch brothers' Themis database to target voters." Minnery also told the crowd, when explaining how the Kochs pitched the database to him: "So, they introduced this project to us by basically saying, 'Listen, we know more about you guys than you could ever hope to know, but the good side is, we're going to be able to use this for the glory of God and to get conservatives in power'".
• Davidson County (Nashville), TN Poll Workers Being Trained to Turn Away Voters?: "'Poll workers have been trained by the election commission to judge them (voters) by how they sound and how they look to determine their citizenship,' explained Eben Cathy of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition. Cathy's claims are based on a Powerpoint slide shown to poll workers who were trained in Davidson County earlier this month. On the slide, one bullet point states that only US Citizens who are Tennessee residents may vote. Below that are the words 'naturalized citizenship require reading, writing, speaking basic English.'"
Davidson County is also the place where the Republican official in charge of the Board of Elections once told us to our face that "paper ballots are the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Funny. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) keeps saying it's Global Warming. These guys should have more meetings.
• TX AG Threatens to Arrest U.N. Observers: We previously told you that U.N. monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE] were planning to observe this year's election, following a request last March by the NAACP and other groups who were (justifiably) concerned about voter suppression. Texas AG Greg Abbot has another idea: "'The OSCE representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance,' he said. 'Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.'" --- Um, "may be"? Isn't he the AG? The OSCE responded Wednesday in a letter to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton: "'The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections,' it said. 'The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.'"
Either way, the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also planning to observe in Texas this year...Unless Abbot thinks they have no right to be there either. Why so worried about people observing at the polls? Got something you don't want them to see, cowboy?
• VA County Registrar Incredible Dishonest or Just Stupid: The Washington Post joins the ranks of us "conspiracy theorists" by reporting on concerns about Mitt Romney's business associates and major supporters and their takeover of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company. But it was the last line of the piece we found the most amusing: "Falls Church [,VA] registrar David Bjerke said that he was aware of the discussion surrounding Hart but that he regarded the system as completely secure. 'There’s no way for the count to be manipulated,' he said."
What a Bjerke.
[UPDATE 10/24/12: Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will now be investigating after all, following a unanimous vote today of the State Board of Elections to refer the matter for a statewide criminal probe. Our concerns about Cuccinelli's conflicts of interest, as partially detailed below, still stand.]
Broader investigations are being sought, on a number of fronts, into the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal including, finally, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Over the weekend, a Democratic state legislator in Virginia asked the state's Republican Attorney General to open a statewide probe, though AG Ken Cuccinelli has said he has no plans to carry one out. Given the photographs recently posted of Cuccinelli on Twitter (see below), that's probably a good thing.
On Monday, however, a number of Democratic U.S. Congress members from Virginia sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a nationwide investigation. Also, the three ranking Democrats of the U.S. House Judiciary, Elections and Oversight committees are pressing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for answers as to why his party hired a shady GOP operative with a long history of voter registration fraud allegations against him, and whether the RNC intends to truly cut ties with him, and his many companies working for Republicans across the country.
All of this comes on the heels of the GOP Voter Registration Scandal widening to Virginia last week, when 23-year old Colin Small was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors after being seen allegedly dumping voter registration forms into a dumpster near a shopping mall in Harrisonburg.
Small, a Pennsylvania resident who claimed on his LinkedIn profile to be a "Grassroots Field Director" for the Republican National Committee, had been hired to do voter registration work by Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed this summer at the request of the RNC and headed by Nathan Sproul, a shady GOP operative and paid political consultant for Mitt Romney's campaign.
The firm was supposedly fired by the RNC late last month after hundreds of apparently fraudulent registration forms collected by the company on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida were discovered by election officials in some twelve counties in the Sunshine State. The RNC had reportedly paid Sproul's firm at least $3 million since August to carry out voter registration efforts in five battleground states, including VA, despite many years of allegations that his companies had destroyed Democratic registration forms in a number of states.
The arrest of Small revealed that the supposed firing was a deception, as Sproul's employees and Republican voter registration machine were kept in place, but run by local GOP officials and paid by PinPoint Staffing, one of the employment agencies Sproul tells The BRAD BLOG he had used in a number of states...
A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, VA Sheriff's office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, VA.
"Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice," according to a report late Thursday afternoon from TPM's Ryan Reilly. More charges could be forthcoming, according to officials.
But there is more to the story, as evidence emerges to document that it ties in to a still-expanding nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that The BRAD BLOG first began reporting in late September, after we'd learned that the Republican Party of Florida had turned in more than 100 allegedly fraudulent and otherwise suspect voter registration forms in Palm Beach County. The story has continued to widen ever since, to a dozen Florida counties and several other states, now including Virginia, and even to the upper-echelons of the Republican Party itself.
The man arrested today was 23-year old Colin Small of Phoenixville, PA. As it turns out, he does not only work for the VA Republican Party. According to an online profile, he appears to be working for the Republican National Committee and, prior to that, served as an Intern for Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Joseph Tanfani at the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Small was "working as a supervisor as part of a registration operation in eight swing states financed by the Republican National Committee."
He was first hired, says Tanfani, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by the disgraced GOP operative and paid Mitt Romney political consultant, Nathan Sproul. Even before this year's registration fraud scandal which began with Strategic in Florida, Sproul's companies have long been accused of, though never charged with, destroying Democratic voter registrations in election after election and state after state, going back to at least 2004. Despite that, Sproul was hired by the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004, by the McCain/Palin Campaign in 2008, and by Romney during the Republican Primary cycle.
Sproul's company, Strategic Allied Consulting, was hired by the RNC in August for more than $3 million, reportedly as its sole voter registration company this cycle. His company was said to have been fired by the RNC and five different battleground state Republican parties several weeks ago, after fraudulent voter registrations began to emerge across Florida. Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that FL election officials told The BRAD BLOG they worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters' knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.
Reilly's report at TPM says that Small "worked for PinPoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia." In fact, PinPoint Staffing placed ads to hire workers for Strategic Allied Consulting in FL, VA and a number of other states, though The BRAD BLOG has learned that the company removed many of those ads once the scandal began to break in FL. They have since modified some of their newer ads to hide their ties to the Republican Party.
In response to queries we sent to Sproul late Thursday, his crisis spokesperson, David Leibowitz, attempted to distance his client from the arrest of the Republican Party worker in Virginia, claiming that "the only connection between Sproul and Pinpoint is that Nathan has, on occasion, used Pinpoint to hire some workers."
It was PinPoint Staffing, in fact, which reportedly hired the man Strategic blamed for the fraudulent registration forms turned in originally in Palm Beach. But while PinPoint continues to seek workers for GOP-related efforts around the country, and as Sproul's operations continue in "as many as 30 states", it is the Republican National Committee's response to the entire affair, including to the arrest today, that may be the most troubling...
[This article now cross-posted at Salon...]
Questions continue to grow about Nathan Sproul and his various companies' multi-million dollar work for the Republican National Committee, despite claims that they've broken ties with him on the heels of a nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. A virtual clone of his discredited Strategic Allied Consulting firm appears to still be operating on behalf of Republicans in at least 10 states.
At the same time, Democrats in Congress are now asking for official answers from both Sproul and very senior Republicans, according to new letters obtained by The BRAD BLOG.
Sproul went on the record with us, briefly, to address some of these issues in his own defense, before he was ordered by his newly hired crisis response manager to stop speaking to us all together.
When the RNC invested $3 million to hire Strategic Allied Consulting, a company quietly created this August by Sproul, a paid political consultant to Mitt Romney, and then instructed state GOP affiliates in seven key battleground states (FL, NC, VA, NV, CO, WI and OH) to do the same, they knew very well about his companies' long documented history of alleged electoral misconduct and voter registration fraud.
The longtime GOP operative's voter registration and "Get Out the Vote" firms have been accused, during election after election, of destroying and altering Democratic voter registration forms, though no formal charges have ever been filed against him, despite repeated urging from high-ranking members of Congress and others. Sproul's long track record of improprieties was bad enough that before they would give him the contract as their national voter registration group this year, according to Sproul himself, the RNC "asked us to do it with a different company name."
Subsequently, Strategic Allied Consulting is alleged to have collected fraudulent voter registration forms. Some of those forms had the addresses of existing Democratic voters changed so that some of Florida's county election officials now worry that voters could be disenfranchised when they go to the polls this November and find they're no longer registered at their old precinct, or even in the same county. The fraudulent forms were collected by Strategic and submitted by the Florida GOP (which paid Sproul's firm some $1.3 million for voter registration work, their largest single expenditure in the 2012 cycle) in at least 12 different FL counties.
When the RNC then publicly claimed to have "fired" Sproul's new company, after the fraudulent forms came to light, it's likely that the RNC also knew full well that many of their state GOP affiliate organizations were still quietly employing Sproul's firms for partisan work in a number of other states.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer played dumb about having asked Sproul to create the firm without his name on it --- "To my knowledge, no one requested that" --- though Sproul told The BRAD BLOG during an on the record conversation, eventually aborted by his recently hired crisis manager David Liebowitz, that he stands by his assertion.
"I'm not going to comment on this further," Sproul told us when we'd asked for specifics, since the RNC appeared to be calling him a liar, "but I'm not retracting my prior comments either."
Perhaps even more disturbing is the evidence suggesting that his companies are still operating in states around the country under different names. That, despite the RNC's claims to have "severed our relationship" with Sproul, and the assertion that they "acted swiftly and boldly" to cut ties with the group only after the allegedly fraudulent registration forms came to light in Florida (and as Democratic registration forms were also alleged to have been destroyed by Strategic workers in other states, such as Colorado and Nevada.)
When we asked Sproul directly: "Do your other companies still work for the RNC or other state or local parties?", his response came back as a blunt, "No."
In a response to a follow-up query, when we asked Sproul to explain evidence suggesting that his companies were, in fact, still operating elsewhere on behalf of Republicans, he walked back his original denial a bit.
"I know you have additional questions, including many about SAC [Strategic Allied Consulting] and its affiliates and work we've done in other places and for other clients," Sproul said. "Those questions fall either outside the bounds of what I can discuss or outside the bounds of where I'm comfortable going in this story. I hope you'll understand."
And yet, as still more evidence is emerging to show that Sproul may have been less than forthcoming in some of his responses to The BRAD BLOG (he has refused to respond to additional, specific follow-up queries on this emerging evidence, after Liebowitz was brought on board as his crisis spokesperson), Congressional Democrats have similar questions about Sproul's work with the GOP and if it may be continuing even now.
Senior Democratic members of the U.S. House Elections, Judiciary and Oversight Committees seeking answers --- from Sproul, RNC Chair Reince Priebus, as well as GOP heavies Karl Rove and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (now a senior adviser to Romney) who founded one of the top Republican Super PACs and paid Sproul some $750,000 for unspecified work --- about what Sproul's operations may still be up to, despite the RNC's recent public, if unsupported, claim of a "zero tolerance" policy for election fraud and those who practice it...
An official criminal probe has been launched into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal we first reported just over one week ago. The investigation, confirmed by Reuters tonight, comes on the heels of an election fraud complaint filed on Friday by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) after an initial batch of more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration applications were discovered in Palm Beach County. The forms had been submitted to the county by the RPOF after being collected by employees of Strategic Allied Consulting, a group hired by the party and headed by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and controversial longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul.
The announcement of a criminal investigation comes on the day after state officials sent an email, obtained by The BRAD BLOG, informing county election officials to sequester hundreds of potentially fraudulent registration forms which may be needed as "evidence" in court proceedings.
Tonight, Reuters is reporting that officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirm that they have "found enough evidence to warrant a full-blown investigation" of Strategic Allied Consulting.
Since the emergence of the initial batch of irregular GOP voter registrations early last week, similarly fraudulent forms have reportedly discovered in some 12 Florida counties. During our exclusive interview with Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher last Wednesday, she told us some of the forms her office first discovered included suspicious address changes, "sometimes to commercial buildings or addresses", which could result in voters becoming disenfranchised when they go to the polls on November 6th.
The confirmation of a criminal investigation buttresses information we mentioned yesterday during our appearance on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV program, about an email sent by Florida's Dept. of State to all county election officials on Tuesday. (The email is posted in full below.) The missive advises county Supervisors of Elections to sequester all questionable voter registration applications they have discovered since the scandal emerged, as they "may become evidence used in court, so it is important for you to take steps to protect them from tampering"...
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