You can't teach an old dog new tricks, and you can't expect corrupt, powerhungry people to change their cheating ways. As I said on Wednesday, Republicans are back to their usual game-playing with voter registrations, using their favorite likely fraudster Nathan Sproul. But since that report, the playing field has expanded significantly.
Lee Fang reports for The Nation:
I found a few more payments, like this one from the Colorado Republican Committee: $140,000 to the Sproul-connected firm on July 6, 2012. (UPDATE: I also found the California Republican Party making $430,840 in payments to "Grassroots Outreach, LLC" this cycle for voter registration. According to this disclosure, Grassroots Outreach shares the same address as Sproul's office in Tempe, Arizona. Craigslist job postings in California andColorado use identical language as Strategic Alled Consulting's listings in North Carolina.)
Those ads look like the one at the top of the page. They also look just like the ads run in 2008, and again in 2010, by the same firm. Here's Keith Olbermann reporting on them on October 21, 2008:
And here is a narrative from an anonymous comment that I found back in 2010:
We arrived at the location and found a place to park. Our "experienced" trainer took us to the front of the Walmart where there were already 6 other people (from other companies/groups) gathering signatures. Because of the high failure rate of signatures gathered, the printed material we were given suggested that for each 10 signatures gathered, 7 of them should be for people who also registered to vote. That would mean that 70% of the people are not already registered. While in practice they limited (required?) 3 per 10, that's still a huge number of people who were willing to stop and sign your petition but prior to that never even registered to vote. During the training, we were told we would not receive anything for voter registration cards returned. However, our "trainer" let it be known he would in fact get $4.00 for every card that came back as "Republican," and spent quite some time showing us how to make people let you put down Republican even when they were not.
Sproul has become a wealthy man by hitching his voter registration fraud wagon to Republican presidential candidates. In 2004, The RNC paid Sproul's firm $8.3 million for the same services he's providing to Mitt Romney today. Register voters, particularly Republican voters.
Yet no investigation, as Lee notes in his article.
In 2004, a voter registration worker in Nevada hired by Sproul’s firm told reporters that he had witnessed his surpervisors chucking registration forms signed by Democrats. “They were thrown away in the trash,” he claimed. Sproul’s canvassers in Oregon confessed to doing the same thing, and other reports emerged across several swing states. In Minnesota, workers said they were actually fired for bringing in registration forms signed by Democrats. CBS News obtained faxes showing that Sproul's firm had even impersonated the left-leaning America Votes! to organize voter registration drives at libraries.
One of the mysteries with Sproul that I had wondered about while covering this story in the past is why there had never been a serious investigation.
In 2008, John McCain hired Sproul for the same services, paying him at least $175,000, though I suspect the final figure is much higher.
In 2012, the RNC and Mitt Romney have paid Sproul more than 2 million dollars for his services. For that hefty sum, they've discovered that Sproul's hired guns have filed more than 100 fraudulent registration forms in Palm Beach County alone.
You'd think Florida, of all places, would be jumping on this terrible registration fraud. After all, this is the state that wants to purge actual registered voters from the rolls not once, but twice. Brad Friedman reports that the Palm Beach Election Supervisor is mystified by Florida's apathy to what is clearly voter registration fraud. Could that be because it's Republican voter registration fraud?
It's not just happening in Florida, and it's not just the province of Nathan Sproul, though his operation probably has the widest reach. On Wednesday, CaliforniaWatch.org reported fraud in Riverside County, California. Same complaints; different state.
Then there’s Riverside County, where Democratic activists claim that a Republican voter outreach project has employed an unusual fraud scheme to build a 51,000-voter registration advantage.
In a complaint filed last week with the county registrar of voters, the Democrats presented affidavits from 133 Democratic voters who said they had been re-registered as Republicans without their consent after they encountered petition circulators outside welfare offices and stores.
The person behind this project is political operative Chuck Hahn, who Golden State Voter Participation Project has paid $400,000 in this cycle. The phone number listed for GSVPP goes straight to Bell, McAndrews, & Hiltachk, prominent Sacramento Republican law firm specializing in political campaigns and campaign finance.
Chuck Hahn has a long history in California's legislative landscape. He served as chief operating officer of the California Republican Party, chief of staff to Republican legislators, started his career in Governor Pete Wilson's administration (see bio), and unsuccessfully ran in the Republican primaries to challenge Representative Adam Schiff.
He also has ties to Texas Republican strategists and evidently has learned the techniques of Mr. Sproul quite well.
If California, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida, Colorado, and Missouri are indicators, I'd put even money on operations like these underway in every single state of the Union. After they destroyed ACORN, it seems Republicans feel perfectly free to undertake the real dirty work of voter registration fraud with impunity, and evidently without fear of any investigation.