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 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…
DENVER– Speaking at a conservative conference here Thursday, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler claimed voter fraud had affected the outcomes of elections, that there is evidence of “organized” voter fraud, that Democrats are intentionally registering noncitizens to vote, and that his critics willfully ignore evidence that these crimes are being committed.
Gessler was speaking as a member of a panel titled “Stealing Elections: What the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Voter Fraud.”
At the conference, Gessler offered no new evidence that any votes had been fraudulently cast by individuals at polling places in Colorado or around the nation. Nor did he offer evidence to back up his claims that such alleged efforts were being organized or that Democrats were registering noncitizens to vote. The comments came as the attorney for the 18th District, an area of Colorado that includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties, investigates a former employee of· Strategic Allied Consulting, a voter registration firm paid millions this year by the Republican Party and headed by embattled GOP-tied politico Nathan Sproul. The firm is currently being investigated in Florida for allegedly submitting fudged registration forms, where signatures, addresses and party affiliations appeared to be altered or where the forms seemed to be filed under the names of deceased residents of the state.
News of the investigation in Colorado comes from government watchdog group Colorado Ethics Watch. Gessler’s office Friday afternoon cited the D.A.’s investigation to deny (pdf) an open records request submitted by Ethics Watch concerning Strategic Allied Consulting. In an email, Ethics Watch staffer Allison McGee Johnson told the Independent that “although the nature of the investigation was not specified, the district attorney generally investigates criminal matters.”
See Tomasic’s report for some of Gessler’s actual evidence-free rants at the conference.
As to the news of a CO criminal investigation into Nathan Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting, a company said to have been created by the longtime GOP operative at the request of the RNC and hired by the state GOP for voter registration work, see Colorado Ethics Watch for details on how they obtained evidence of the probe that Gessler didn’t bother to mention during his rant last week at the right-wing conspiracy conference on “Democratic voter fraud.”
As The BRAD BLOG reported last week in detail, Strategic Allied Consulting is currently under criminal investigation by the state of Florida for alleged fraudulent registration forms collected by the firm, and discovered to have been turned in by the FL GOP in at least 12 counties.
In Florida, according to election officials, address changes and other defects on registration forms turned in by the GOP are feared to lead to disenfranchisement on November 6th when voters show up to vote in the presidential election, only to learn that they are no longer registered where they thought they were registered. In years and elections past, Sproul’s firms have been investigated for destroying Democratic registration forms and/or changing party affiliations on them from Democratic to Republican.
Despite those allegations against Sproul (or perhaps because of them?), the RNC hired him again anyway. As the LA Times reports, Sproul says “he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the request of the Republican National Committee because of the bad publicity stemming from the past allegations,” in hopes of hiding his involvement with the new firm.
The RNC has since disputed Sproul’s claim. However, while Sproul declined to elaborate further on the assertion, he recently told The BRAD BLOG via email that he stands by his initial remarks.
A viral video tape of one of Strategic Allied’s registration workers seen lying to potential registrants in Colorado Springs recently has revealed what appears to be a coordinated strategy by Republicans to try and keep Democratic-leaning voters from even being able to register to vote.
Following on the appearance of the CO tape on YouTube, The BRAD BLOG collected video evidence and more of the very same scheme being carried out by Strategic employees in other states, including Nevada, Virginia and Florida, where they were also employed by the RNC. We also uncovered evidence that the same scheme is being carried out by GOP voter registration workers in Oregon, though Sproul has insisted to The BRAD BLOG that none of his companies are doing registration work in the state. If true, that would suggest that the insidious and dishonest scheme to misrepresent GOP voter registration workers as pollsters instead to potential registrants in hopes of screening out Obama supporters may, in fact, be a coordinated national Republican strategy going beyond just that of Sproul’s firms.
So far, while Sproul was forthcoming on several other issues, the former AZ Republican Party chair and head of the Christian Coalition has refused to confirm or deny to The BRAD BLOG whether his companies trained registration workers to deceptively misrepresent themselves as pollsters in order to determine if potential registrants might support Mitt Romney rather than President Obama. Hard evidence from four of the five key battleground states where the RNC is known to have quietly hired Sproul for registration work this year,suggests that was precisely the way his employees were trained to carry out their duties.
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