The Republican National Committee has abruptly cut ties to a consulting firm hired for get-out-the-vote efforts in seven presidential election swing states after Florida prosecutors launched 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 voting consultant. Sproul has operated other firms that have been accused in past elections of improprieties designed to help Republican candidates, including dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats, but none of those allegations led to any criminal charges.
This is voter registration fraud, not “voter fraud” and this is how it happened: the job was outsourced to a for-profit and low-wage, poorly-trained temps who have no actual interest in or commitment to either voting rights or their short-term employer met a goal by turning in forms.
You’ll forgive me if I gloat a little here, because it gets better. They also outsourced GOTV:
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.
Sproul owns another company, Lincoln Strategy Group, that was paid about $70,000 by the Mitt Romney campaign during the primaries to gather signatures. He said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the request of the Republican National Committee because of the bad publicity stemming from the past allegations. In 2004, there were allegations in states such as Nevada and Oregon that employees of his firm — which had a similar contract with the RNC — registered Democratic voters and then destroyed their forms. (Sproul noted that no criminal charges were ever filed.)
“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 from the company derailed a major voter registration drive just six weeks before the presidential election, which could hinge on voter turnout in about eight battleground states. It also comes as Republicans around the country have sought to make voter fraud an issue, in part by pressing for voter identification laws.
The Party that has conducted a full-blown voter suppression strategy since 2005 outsourced voter registration and GOTV to a for-profit operator with a terrible track record, and now they’ll be scrambling to find warm bodies 6 weeks before a presidential election.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.