w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...|
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
That appears to be Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’ philosophy when it comes to rigging elections in the GOP’s favor. In 2012, the strategy was suppressing votes through polling place Photo ID restriction laws, ending same-day voter registration, and clamping down on early voting, among other restrictive legislation. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 25 laws and two executive actions were passed in 19 states over the past two years with the aim of making it harder to vote.
In 2013, the plan appears to be changing the way that votes are counted. Priebus has stepped forward as the latest Republican to support a proposal that would split Wisconsin’s electoral votes by congressional district.
"I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," Priebus said of the plan, which would deliver two electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in the state, and divide the rest based on who wins each Congressional district.
As Dave Weigel points out at Slate, in 2011 Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled statehouse gerrymandered the state’s districts to create five Republican seats and three Democratic seats. Under the Priebus-backed proposal, Mitt Romney would have won as many electors in Wisconsin as President Obama, despite winning 213,019 fewer votes.
Unsurprisingly, the victims of this plan would be the same urban voters whom an apparently shocked Paul Ryan blamed for the Republican defeat in 2012, and whom most voter suppression efforts in the last election targeted.
According to National Journal’s Reid Wilson, Republicans are already preparing electoral vote-splitting laws in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and hope to eventually expand the push to Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. If the GOP had successfully enacted the laws in all six states before the 2012 election, President Obama’s electoral vote margin of victory would have shrunk [PDF] from 322-206 to 270-268. Under two other proposed reforms --- in which the overall statewide winner would not automatically receive two electoral votes --- Romney would have been elected president, despite losing the popular vote by 4 percent (nearly 5 million votes).
"If you did the calculation, you’d see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control," a senior Republican who is actively involved in pushing the electoral split scheme told Wilson. "There’s no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly."
So there you have it: instead of examining why voters overwhelmingly rejected their party in 2012 and adjusting their policies accordingly, some Republicans hope to simply steal the next one, and do it quickly. For voting rights advocates who warned that democracy was being threatened in 2012, there will be no rest for the weary.
Last Saturday, we told you about a rare case of polling place voter fraud, when a Republican voter attempted to vote twice in Nevada during Early Voting in the state. Appropriately enough, she was quickly arrested and taking into custody by the FBI. Nevada's system of preventing double-voting at the polls worked well and efficiently, it seems, despite the woman's deluded, disinformed, Fox "News"-fueled belief to the contrary.
Now, however, 56-year old Roxanne Rubin, the woman who was arrested when she showed up for work at the Riviera hotel-casino last Friday for her attempted voter fraud, is reportedly claiming that she was just "testing" the system.
And she's not the only one. On Election Day, another Republican, this one a party-trained poll watcher, was detained in New Mexico after claiming to have been "testing" the system by obtaining a second ballot.
Ironically, after years of false allegations of "Democratic voter fraud" by the GOP and their minions, it has been Republicans this year who have been found defrauding the system in state after state, in case after case. They are failing their own "test"...
A criminal investigation into voter registration fraud by a company hired by the Republican National Committee for some $3 million to sign up voters in at least five key battleground states this year is now widening, according to a new report by the Washington Post.
The reason for the expansion appears to relate to an overlooked aspect of the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal highlighted initially by The BRAD BLOG some weeks ago.
The probe by the office of Virginia's Attorney General began last week after the State Board of Elections voted unanimously to refer the matter to state law enforcement officials after 23-year old Colin Small was arrested in Harrisonburg and charged with 13 election fraud counts for allegedly dumping completed voter registration forms into a dumpster.
Small had been hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm created over the summer by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP activist Nathan Sproul. Sproul has said the company was registered in Virginia, without his name on it, at the request of the RNC, due to myriad election registration fraud allegations in multiple states, in multiple elections, as long ago as 2004. An RNC spokesman has said he's unaware of the party's request, though Sproul has told The BRAD BLOG he stands by the claim. The issue resulted in a testy exchange with a Denver television reporter this week. (That video is posted at the end of this article.)
According to the Post, "state prosecutors canceled Colin Small’s grand jury testimony to gather more information, with their focus expanding to the firm that had employed Small, which is led by longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul."
"State authorities are seeking to learn whether any of Small’s supervisors instructed him or any of his 40 co-workers in Virginia to ask potential voters about their political leanings during registration drives," according to two unnamed sources cited by the paper. "Asking such questions could be a violation of state election law," WaPo reports.
Last month, in an investigative report by The BRAD BLOG, we highlighted video-taped and other evidence from half a dozen states, including Virginia, detailing how Sproul had trained his workers to misrepresent themselves as pollsters to potential registrants in order to determine their political leanings before offering to register them to vote. The ruse was meant as a way to register only Republican voters, while keeping Obama supporters from being able to register at all...
We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...
• CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.
• Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"
• Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.
• Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."
Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.
• Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...
• GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.
• Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.
• Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.
One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."
I think the two items below --- one graphic and one video, both from late last week --- sum up the state of the Romney campaign, at this date in time, as well as anything else I've seen. Neither have anything to do, either way, with whether they'll win (legitimately or otherwise), but both strike me as representative of the state of his campaign and, more broadly, the Republican Party as a whole at this moment in history...
[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...
The Rightwing finally choked on their own internal feedback loop last night. Mitt Romney paid the price for it. It could be a big one.
During the 2nd Presidential debate, as Obama responded to the phony Rightwing charge that it took him two weeks to refer to the deaths of four U.S. State Department officials in Benghazi, Libya as an act of terror, I tweeted the moment this way: "Obama's best answer of the night was on Libya."
When Romney took the bait and fell back on a false Fox "News" talking point, only to be corrected by the moderator, I followed with: "Candy Crowley does LIVE fact-checking! He DID call it an act of terror. #Journalism!" and then, as Romney kept digging: "Boom. Libya discussion just makes TOP of every post-debate wrap" and finally "If he doesn't screw up hereafter, Obama may have just won the Presidency in that Libya moment."
Here was the moment in question...
Indeed, as I also noted on Twitter just afterwards, the President had, in fact, referred to Benghazi as "an act of terror" during his first statement on the tragedy on the day following the incident.
Here's a helpful mashup of Romney stepping in it last night, contrasted next to Obama's actual Rose Garden comments from 9/12/12:
Adam Sewer at Mother Jones offers about as good of an explanation as I've seen for what I believe will be regarded as Romney's historic debate failure, and why the Right was finally hoisted publicly on their own insulated petard.
To put a sharper point on what went so desperately wrong for them, and what will continue to go wrong on the Right until they break out of their Karl Rove "we create our own reality", Fox "News" internal feedback loop trance, Rightwingers would have been far better served here if they had bothered to heed the advice that was also ignored by Tony "Scarface" Montana: "Don't get high on your own supply."
For the historic record, Obama referred to the Libya attack as an "act of terror" both on the day following the attack and then again on the day afterward. The direct quotes of both of those responses follow below...
On Thursday, we reported that the companies of Nathan Sproul, the man at the center of the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, are still at work for Republicans in some 10 states. That, despite previous claims by the RNC that they'd fired his company, Strategic Allied Consulting, after fraudulent registration forms the firm collected on behalf of the Florida GOP were discovered in 12 counties across the state late last month, and reports that employees of the company destroyed Democratic registration forms in other states.
The RNC, which had a $3 million contract with Sproul (a paid political consultant of Mitt Romney's), claimed they fired his company --- the one Sproul says he created at the RNC's request, due to his long reputation for having been accused of doing the same thing in elections going back to 2004 --- because they had a "zero tolerance" policy for those involved in election fraud. Nonetheless, as detailed yesterday, several other companies of his, including one, Issue Advocacy Partners, with a nearly identical website to Strategic Allied Consulting, was found to be still operating in a whole bunch of states.
We had identified 10 such states in yesterday's report: Alabama, California, Georgia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia (with former Sproul associates reportedly at work in Ohio.)
Tonight, however, Joseph Tanfani at LATimes is reporting that, in fact, Sproul "is now hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states"...
[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...
We recently offered a very few, long overdue words about Colorado's embarrassingly bad, incredibly partisan, anti-democratic and anti-Democratic, wingnut Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R), when, as the state's chief election official, he made a fool of himself with an attempted-then-aborted purge of "non-citizen" voters who, to Gessler's inconvenience, turned out to not be "non-citizens".
It's not altogether surprising. The state is developing a rich history of cringe-inducing Secretaries of State.
The previous wingnut to hold the job, who is now, even more embarrassingly, U.S. House Rep. Mike Coffman (R), recently revealed his own confusion about which Americans are citizens and which are not, when he told the crowd at a fundraiser last May: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."
Moving beyond the two most recent CO Secretaries of State's embarrassing paranoia of alien invasion, Gessler isn't done shaming the great state of Colorado with conspiracy theories, not by a long shot, as displayed at a wingnut "voter fraud" conference late last week in Denver. That, even as he has, publicly at least, completely ignored what now appears to be an actual criminal conspiracy, with actual evidence, concerning actual voter registration fraud (albeit by a Republican outfit, so perhaps it doesn't count), acknowledged by his own office to be officially under criminal investigation by prosecutors in his state...
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"...
From Palm Beach to Richmond, from Las Vegas to Portland, it's not a coincidence, it's a coordinated GOP scheme intended to keep Obama supporters from signing up to vote.
While a major element of the Republican National Committee's strategy to game the 2012 elections by affecting who gets to vote and who does not has been cut off at the knees in the wake of a criminal election fraud complaint and other late developments in the still-widening GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, a disturbing and abhorrent nationwide GOP voter registration strategy may have also been revealed by it.
The coordinated strategy, as evidenced by recent video documentation emerging from a number of key states, includes registration workers screening out Democratic-leaning voters from registration drives in order to keep them from registering. The way it's done: lying to potential registrants about a "voter survey," rather than disclosing that workers are actually there to register voters --- but only Republican-leaning ones. The deceptive tactic has so far been seen this year in several of the five battleground states where the RNC's controversial, and potentially criminal, $3 million registration program was scuttled late last week after fraudulent registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by a shady firm hired by the RNC to sign up Republican voters in Florida and four other states.
The BRAD BLOG has also collected evidence suggesting that the dishonest registration tactic also appears to be in use in states where the RNC's firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is not said to be operating, suggesting that the practice is not just one used by the discredited firm, but, rather, a nationwide voter scheme by the GOP.
Questions about the legality of the tactic are emerging as well, though the deplorable ethics of the practice, legal or otherwise, would seem to be beyond dispute.
Election officials in the five states where Strategic was paid some $3 million by the RNC to do voter registration, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada, are now said to be in the process of scrambling to review tens of thousands of new and updated voter registration forms submitted by state Republican Parties, as collected by the firm owned by Nathan Sproul, a long-time, notorious GOP operative and paid political consultant of Mitt Romney's campaign. But the disturbing, and seemingly coordinated, tactic of registration workers instructed to misrepresent themselves in order to screen out potential Democratic voters is coming to light as a separate element of the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal.
To date, The BRAD BLOG has documented instances of the phony "polling" tactic being used by Republican voter registration workers in Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Oregon, and, in years past, Tennessee and Minnesota. Our suspicion at the moment: What we have been able to discover to date is just the tip of the iceberg...
In a scathing letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL19) is demanding the Governor "immediately appoint a bipartisan task force" to investigate and take action on the "the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida."
"Given the explicitly partisan nature of this scandal, assurances must be provided to all Floridians that the investigation into these allegations is thorough and fair," Deutch writes in his letter (posted in full below), before criticizing Scott for his silence, to date, on the matter.
"So far, your inaction in the face of this scandal suggests that you are putting partisanship ahead of the integrity of Florida’s elections," charges the Congressman.
"Allegations surrounding Strategic Allied Consulting alarmingly suggest that Democratic forms were destroyed by its workers and only Republican forms were submitted. Further allegations exist that workers were illegally given quotas of new voters to register, that many forms had similar handwriting with incorrect information, and that even deceased individuals were registered."
"Even more disturbing is the possibility that the fraud discovered in Florida really just scratches the surface of a national strategy executed by Strategic Allied Consulting at the direction of the Republican National Committee and Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."
Deutch slams Scott in the missive for his "shocking and hypocritical" lack of action since the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal first surfaced early last week, when we first reported on more than 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms submitted in Palm Beach County, FL, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by longtime controversial GOP operative Nathan Sproul. The firm accounted for the Republican Party of Florida's top expenditure so far this year. The FL GOP paid the firm some $1.3 million for voter registration across the state over the past two months.
The FL GOP says they hired the firm --- headed up by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant, whose companies have a long history of allegations against them for destroying Democratic voter registrations in multiple states --- at the request of the Republican National Committee. Like the FL GOP, the RNC, which paid the firm $3 million for voter registration in five key battleground states since July, fired Strategic late last week.
Since then, apparently fraudulent registration forms, many with addresses changed so that voters could be disenfranchised come November 6th, have been discovered in at least 11 FL counties, along with charges of destroyed Democratic registration forms surfacing in Colorado and Nevada. The company was employed in those states as well as North Carolina and Virginia to carry out voter registration. Sproul has said the RNC asked him to create the new company to hide his ownership of it.
Deutch pulls no punches in his criticism of the Florida Governor, who has otherwise pretended to be concerned about voter registration fraud in the Sunshine State, in his letter today:
Deutch goes on to list five actions the Congressman says are needed "immediately" to help contain the scandal, restore confidence in the state's electoral process, and help to "prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."
(One gentle note to the good Congressman, since we'd hate to incur his wrath and receive a similarly scathing letter: The concern in the state of Florida right now, and in the other states where the RNC's company was operating, is voter registration fraud, not "voter fraud." There is no evidence of fraud by any voters at this time. They are doing fine and have borne the brunt of more than enough inappropriate accusations already this year. Please leave them alone. Thank you.)
The complete text of Congressman Ted Deutch's 10/1/12 letter to Gov. Rick Scott, follows in full below...
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