Nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal Widens, Criminal Probe Opens in Florida
A major element of the Republican National Committee’s overall attempt to game the 2012 elections by trying to affect who gets to vote and who does not, has just been stopped dead in its tracks.
Along with it, a criminal election fraud complaint has now reportedly been filed with law enforcement in the state of Florida against a Republican firm, owned by a paid Mitt Romney consultant, which was hired by the GOP to carry out partisan voter registration operations in at least five battleground states.
Millions of dollars were spent on the aborted effort by the GOP over the last two months — their largest single expenditure in several of the states where the scheme was in full tilt — to seek out Romney supporters only, and sign them up to vote.
The strategy resulted in (or included) fraudulent registration forms collected by the firm and then submitted in Florida by the state GOP with voter addresses, signatures and party affiliations changed. Election officials in the state have told The BRAD BLOG that they fear the scheme could result in the disenfranchisement of a still-unknown number of otherwise legal voters, and they are taking extraordinary measures to try and contain the potential damage as they attempt to work through more than 45,000 new and updated registrations submitted by the GOP and verify their legitimacy.
The fraudulent voter registration forms have so far been discovered in “at least 11” FL counties at this hour, all submitted by the state Republican Party and collected by the RNC’s top voter registration firm, a shell company formed in June called Strategic Allied Consulting, owned by a notorious GOP operative named Nathan Sproul.
On Thursday night, the RNC finally fired the firm to which they’d paid more than $3 million over the past two months alone, for voter registration work in at least five key battleground states, and “Get Out the Vote” efforts in at least two more.
But despite the efforts by the RNC and Strategic Allied Consulting, run secretly by Romney’s paid political consultant, the 2012 GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, which The BRAD BLOG initially reported late last Tuesday night as it began to break, is not over yet. Not by a long shot.
It took several days for the story to go national, and for the RNC to eventually take action in firing the company that Sproul says he was specifically asked to create for them, but only after the Republican Party of Florida, and then the North Carolina GOP fired the firm first. The state parties say they had hired the company “at the request” of the RNC. They fired Strategic after allegedly fraudulent and purposely changed voter registration forms turned in by the group emerged in other counties beyond Palm Beach County, FL where the Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher initially discovered and then turned in over 100 “questionable” forms to the State Attorney last Monday.
The story has been moving quickly over the past 24 to 48 hours, even as the RNC and Strategic have been trying, with the initially uncritical help of the Associated Press and others in the media, to downplay the scandal as the work of just “one individual.”
Now that “suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms” turned in by the Republican Party and Sproul have been found in “at least 11 counties” in Florida, as reported by the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, their “one bad apple” talking point has fallen to pieces.
Similarly laughable is the RNC’s claim that once the fraudulent registrations emerged they acted “boldly” or that they have a “zero tolerance policy” for such things. Their own admissions in this matter, as well as Sproul’s, highlight how absurd those positions are. But more on that below.
Another matter worth looking at is the claim that this scandal is contained to only five battleground states — Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado — where Strategic Allied Consulting is known to have been operating. There is evidence, however, that SAC and/or other Sproul companies may still be operating in other states, such as California and Oregon, and that the specific type of rather offensive registration work they were doing — lying to potential registrants and only offering Romney supporters the opportunity to register to vote — is not necessarily their own strategy, but that of the entire Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign.
And then there’s the hypocrisy of Republicans and their media outlets, such as Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media, now trying to pretend that this entire matter isn’t happening at all. Yes, the very same outlets that all went wall-to-wall in 2008, and beyond, in claiming (inaccurately) that ACORN was doing what this GOP group appears to actually have done, are now going out of their way to ignore this scandal.