View Full Version : But it's not ACORN

Ian McColgin
09-28-2012, 05:43 AM

The founder of Strategic Allied Consulting says he formed the company at the Republican National Committee's request to distance the party from earlier allegations.

By Joseph Tanfani, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau LA Times
September 28, 2012

WASHINGTON The Republican National Committee has abruptly dropped ties to a firm running a major get-out-the-vote effort in seven swing states after Florida prosecutors started an investigation into possible fraud in voter registration forms.

Working through state parties, the RNC has sent more than $3.1 million this year to Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed in June by Nathan Sproul, an Arizona political consultant. Sproul has operated other firms that have been accused in the past of improprieties designed to help Republican candidates, including dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats. None of those allegations have led to criminal charges.

Strategic Allied Consulting was hired to do voter registration drives in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada, and had been planning get-out-the-vote drives in Ohio and Wisconsin, according to Sproul. Lincoln Strategy Group, another Sproul company, was paid about $70,000 by Mitt Romney's campaign during the primaries to gather signatures.

In Florida's Palm Beach County, election officials turned over 106 forms to prosecutors after discovering forgeries and other problems. Officials in other counties are now reviewing voter registration forms turned in by the state GOP.

Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC's request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.

"In order to be able to do the job that the state parties were hiring us to do, the [RNC] asked us to do it with a different company's name, so as to not be a distraction from the false information put out in the Internet," Sproul said.

The RNC's rapid decision to distance itself comes as Republicans around the country have sought to make voter fraud an issue, in part by pressing for voter identification laws.

Sean Spicer, spokesman for the RNC, said the party had "zero tolerance" for voter fraud and cut ties to the firm Wednesday. "We severed our relationship," he said. "We acted swiftly and boldly."

Spicer said he had no knowledge of Sproul's assertion that the RNC wanted to conceal his identity.

In Florida, the state party fired the firm Tuesday after election workers in Palm Beach County discovered numerous registration forms that appeared to be filled out in the same handwriting, some with incorrect addresses and birthdays. Some Republicans were simply re-registered as Republican. Some forms switched voters' addresses or requested new voter identification cards. Some changed party registration from Democratic or independent to Republican, said Susan Bucher, county elections supervisor.

Her staff identified about 20 suspicious forms, all of which came from the Republican Party of Florida, she said. After she contacted local Republicans, a supervisor for Strategic Allied Consulting identified 106 forms, all apparently filled out by one worker. Bucher turned them over to Palm Beach County prosecutors, who have begun a criminal investigation.

"The majority of them have the Republican Party checked, but not all," she said.

Spicer said creating fraudulent voter registration forms would not help the Republican Party. "If you don't do it right, it doesn't assist us in any way," he said.

Sproul said his company had a vigorous quality-control system, one that includes running a criminal background check on all employees and cataloging voter cards with a serial number that identifies who collected each registration. That quality check, Sproul said, enabled the company to quickly determine the individual who submitted the problematic cards in Palm Beach County.

On Thursday, election supervisors in other Florida counties said they were checking forms submitted by the Florida Republican Party for possible problems.

"It's not just Palm Beach County," wrote Paul Lux, supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County, in an email to other supervisors. Problematic forms also showed up in nearby Santa Rosa County, he said.

In an interview, Lux said Santa Rosa County found bogus signatures, phony addresses and incorrect birthdays along with some names that seemed to match death records.

"A number of dead people were trying to register to vote," Lux said.

Sproul said he had heard about problems elsewhere in Florida and said his firm had offered to assist elections officials.

Unauthorized changes of address could present problems when voters try to cast ballots. Floridians used to be able to change or correct their addresses at the polls. But under a recent change in the state's election law, voters whose registration is in a different county from the polling place must use provisional ballots which are much less likely to be counted.

"If they're changing the addresses out of county, it is potentially disenfranchisement," said Daniel A. Smith, professor of election law at the University of Florida.

Sproul is a fixture in Arizona Republican politics. He is former head of the Arizona Christian Coalition and a veteran of a number of GOP campaigns. For three years, he was executive director of the state party.

In 2004, a company he started was paid millions by Republicans to register voters. Employees in Oregon, Nevada, West Virginia and Pennsylvania alleged they were told to register only Republicans. One worker in Las Vegas said he watched a supervisor tear up Democratic registrations. The Justice Department started an investigation, which did not lead to any charges, Sproul said.

But the record of allegations makes Sproul a lightning rod in political circles.

"There's no question if the name Sproul & Associates appeared on any filings, that would immediately raise red flags among Democrats," said Rick Hasen, an election law expert who teaches at UC Irvine.

The RNC did not pay Strategic Allied Consulting directly. Instead, Republican state parties, all in key battleground states, paid the firm soon after receiving nearly identical amounts from the national organization. The link between Strategic Allied Consulting and Sproul was first uncovered in late August by a liberal blogger in North Carolina.

Sproul said he resented the Florida party's decision to fire his firm, but had no hard feelings against the Republican National Committee. "I don't begrudge the national committee one bit," he said. "They had a distraction created for them by a state party. If I were in their shoes, I would do the same thing."

# # #

John Smith
09-28-2012, 06:15 AM
In the beacon of demcocracy.

09-28-2012, 08:13 AM
They all are, the very beacon of a modern model party.

09-28-2012, 10:33 AM
Slimy buggers, ain't they?

This is but one concern. The other is direct manipulation of the voting results thanks to the cursed Diebold machines.

John of Phoenix
09-28-2012, 10:42 AM
Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC's request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.But he just couldn't hide the stink. His office was just down the hall from mine for a few years. He changed the company name three times trying to get away from his reputation but just couldn't elude himself. A human snake if there ever was one.

Osborne Russell
09-28-2012, 11:05 AM
Apart from whether it legal, and or right, there is the question: is it wise to gain power via dependence on gangs of hirelings? Appealing to the citizens just didn't work out for you, eh? Well, I suppose desperation justifies desperation. You can always go straight after you're in office.

David G
09-28-2012, 11:25 AM
"When there is an accumulation of money and power into fewer and fewer hands, people with the mentality of gangsters come to the fore. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" -- Lord Acton

09-30-2012, 05:30 AM
Ian, you should share the link to the site that sells cricket pheremones. Seriously.

Meanwhile, eight more counties have reported inconsistencies in registration forms. And that's just in Florida. Upon seeing the allegations several other states have "fired" the firm that turned in the fraudulant forms and we can expect many more such revelations as this story unfolds, along with more crickets.


Ian McColgin
09-30-2012, 06:35 AM
Curtism, you're right and I wish I knew how. When stories are unusually heavy in click-to links that really help with documentation, I often put in a note recommending that folk go to the original. And sometimes in cases like this one, you'd have to use google to find the story but at least all the info is there to find it. It's certainly true that the way you provided the link in #8 is both economical and complete but it can be a bit of a barrior for folk who are not yet high-speed and simple words (as opposed to pix) don't take up much room here so I go ahead and give the black letter quite often.

09-30-2012, 10:41 AM
Sorry Ian, I wasn't criticizing the article or the way you posted it in my first line there. You're always good about posting a by-line and publisher so anyone who is interested can look at your source. My 'cricket pheremone' comment was meant as a sarcastic swipe at the lack of interest or comments by those democracy defending, voter fraud hating folks who've spent the last four years crowing about ACORN and how they helpped steal the "08 election for the Democrats. I'm just slightly surprised they haven't weighed in on what is turning out to be a multi-state, GOP funded effort to skew the voter roles.

Has anyone else noticed that SAC (Strategic Allied Consulting) was operating in swing states that also happen to be run by Tea-party governors?

09-30-2012, 10:54 AM
since no one from the right has posted about this i will be a proxy for them

"this is scandalous and the republican party should be voted out of office"

09-30-2012, 11:11 AM
The RNC acted swiftly and boldly only because they got caught!

John Smith
09-30-2012, 11:23 AM
One of the things back in 2000 that puzzled me is how unconcerned we are with the accurate counting of votes. Florida law required a recount due to the closeness of the result. That required recount came up with a different result and a smaller margin of victory. If we had a pile of money and counted it twice getting different results, we would count it again. We would keep counting until we got the same number two or three times.

Given the nature of the "HANGING CHADS" and the machines used, simply running the cards through the machines again would result in haning chads being torn off in the operation. After several run throughs, the same numbers would show up; then you've got an honest result.

Why we don't consider the counting of votes as important as the counting of money has always disturbed me.

Giving a fair, and I hope reasonable, amount of thought to this subject, fraud seems most likely to happen at the point of registration. I'm not sure the benefit to risk of in person voter fraud would seem to be enough to discourage anyone from doing it.

I also think there's a lot to be said for grandfathering in some new laws. My big complaint with these new laws is the retroactive application.

There's also the never mentioned additional problem married women have. They will need a marriage certificate, along with their birth certificate, if they are voting under their married name.

I have no doubt that a large section of this country really wants to defeat Obama. They want this so bad they are willing to believe he was not born here and they are fine with cheating to get him out of office. I have cautious hope that these people are in the minority and that the rest of the country will rebuke these actual efforts to cheat by voting against the Republican Party.

I have no idea what Romney truly believes. I doubt he knows at this point. I do think the Republican brand has done itself no favor in the last couple of years by passing, or trying to pass, these voter ID laws and/or those positions they've taken of women's right to medical decisions or equal pay. I may be naive, but my gut tells me a lot of women will not speak their heart for fear of an argument, but will vote their hear in the privacy of the booth. I'd like to think that many elderly, poor, or minority people who do have the necessary paperwork to vote, but might normally not vote, will vote this year to speak for those who may be denied their legal right to vote.

It also disturbs me greatly, and makes me angry and frustrated, that we have a situation here where YOUR right to vote can be questioned and denied and the burden of proof falls on you. If someone wishes to question my right to vote and prevent me from doing so, as voting illegally would be a crime, they have the burden of proof. Why do I get tried and convicted in this case sans a trial?

The outrage here, though present, is lacking.

09-30-2012, 12:26 PM
since no one from the right has posted about this i will be a proxy for them

"this is scandalous and the republican party should be voted out of office"

Given you only made a single cryptic one word response in the thread about the Maryland Democrat who got caught, I'm surprised you would be the one calling for a Republican response.

"Fair & Balanced" is not exactly your strong point this weekend.

In fact, lets look at a couple responses to the thread about the Democrat getting caught...

That's cool - ratted out by her own party. Can you imagine that level of integrity from the republican party? I can't.

Yes this is good news, the Democrat Party should get some credit.

A great story and a proud moment for Democrats.

Not exactly the same feel in this thread. Where's the "good job RNC for firing the bad guy" responses? :D

09-30-2012, 01:32 PM
from what i hear this guy has been used by the republicans in the past under different names so it bears little if any resemblance to anything on the left

as far as i know acorn wasn't paid by the dnc on any dem party orginazation

10-01-2012, 05:21 AM
Not exactly the same feel in this thread. Where's the "good job RNC for firing the bad guy" responses? :D

Right you are . . . how could we be so complacent. Ahem. :rolleyes:

Heartfelt congratulations to the Republican led legislature and governor of Florida for passing the law last year requiring tracking numbers on registration forms which exposed the career fraudster(s) who've been employed by the RNC since 2004 or so. Good job foiling those nasty crooks!

Is that better?

John of Phoenix
10-01-2012, 11:41 AM
Where's the "good job RNC for firing the bad guy" responses?Not even a nice try Brian.


Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC's request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations. The RNC hired their favorite hit man, fully aware of his long and well deserved reputation for underhanded practices, but went to great lengths not to be linked to him by hiding the ownership and location of the company. They fired him because they got caught then he ratted THEM out when he got nailed. (True to form.)

"The coverup is always worse than the crime."

John of Phoenix
10-01-2012, 04:36 PM
Not just Florida. Sproul's "Strategic Allied Consulting" has been doing the same thing for the RNC in California, Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia.

We send young men and women to kill and be killed so Iraqis and Afghanis have the right to vote while the RNC steals the same right from our own citizens.

Something is horribly wrong with republicans that don't clean this treason out of their own party.