Where is Sproul Still Working for GOP?

The more that comes out about Republican voter registration efforts around the country, the more the whole thing stinks. It’s already been reported that the GOP “fired” Nathan Sproul’s company, Strategic Allied Consulting, after fraudulent registration forms and illegal conduct were found in several states, and that the company just changed names and kept operating in several other states. But Salon.com says it’s more widespread then we thought:

Beyond that, last Thursday we reported that Sproul’s firms, including what appeared to be a “clone” operation of Strategic Allied Consulting, calling itself Issue Advocacy Partners, were still found working for Republicans and right-wing ballot initiatives in at least 10 states. Subsequently, on Friday, the Los Angeles Timesreported that, in fact, Sproul was still “hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states.”

On Thursday, following Small’s arrest, Sproul’s spokesman Leibowitz hedged that number by telling us via email: “What we said on the record to various media outlets is that his companies are working in ‘as many as 30 states.’ That could mean 1 state. Or 2. Or 30. You get the idea, I’m sure.”

We do. The idea is Sproul does not want to come clean about his ongoing operations and who it is that he continues to work for, preferring instead to live up to the “shady” adjective that’s often applied to him in the media. Despite our follow-up request, Leibowitz did not identify the exact number of states that Sproul was still working in, or who was paying him to do so.

The RNC needs to come clean on this. What they did, quite obviously, is to “fire” Sproul in public and then keep working with him under different names. In Virginia, they simply kept the operation in place under their own supervision — and their supervisor then dumped valid registrations in the trash. This should be getting far more attention than ACORN did in 2008.


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  • weaver

    Why is he still working for them? Because they don’t care – the election is too close, and their base has no shame. All their cries of voter fraud and accusations against ACORN have their base convinced this is entirely a problem for Democrats, and they’ll just view the facts here as a partisan ploy to paint the GOP with the same brush they used against the Dems. They figure either they’ll win, in which case they can then be shocked, shocked I tell you, or they’ll lose, and it will be forgotten. Either way, they don’t really lose at all from this, but it might help them win – so they’ll continue.

  • jamesfrank

    Republican voter fraud never gets attention because it seems the only time people actually care is in those rare instances where Democrats do something illegal. Maybe we’ve become desensitized to Republican corruption due to how ubiquitous it is? Or maybe the GOP are just better at exploiting politics?

    Obama should be bringing down the hammer on this, especially given all the GOP’s rancor about voter fraud.

  • Chiroptera

    jamesfrank, #2: …it seems the only time people actually care is in those rare instances where Democrats do something illegal.

    Or, to be more accurate, the all too common cases where the Democrats are accused of doing something illegal.

  • Trebuchet

    And if (when?) Obama wins, they’ll be screaming from the rafters that it was only because of massive fraud perpetrated by ACORN.

  • “This should be getting far more attention than ACORN did in 2008.”

    Keep in mind that the “expose” of ACORN was a Republican operation, start to finish, and they had enough media heft with Faux News, Limbaugh and the rest of right-wing radio to force everyone else to make it into news.

    This voter suppression effort is also a Republican operation, one that they do NOT want to be exposed. We can bet that Faux News, Limbaugh and the rest of right-wing radio will do everything they can to bury the story. Given that they have become the leading source of “information” in this country… end of story.

  • On a side note. I just talked to a couple of Brazilian guys who said that in Brazil, voting is manditory. I think that might be a great idea to adopt here. I mean, at first it sounds kinda skeezy, but if you think about manditory draft registration (now through SS#) and the legal requirement to show up for jury duty if called, you see that they are no more restrictive than manditory voting law. This with the caveat that ‘None of the above’ be an option in the voting booth for all elections.

  • @ Gregory #5

    It’s the fact that “Acorn” produced such a visceral, infantile reaction from a certain segment/ ype of the population if you get my my drift. Progressives (unfortunately sometimes) can’t drum up the same sputtering paranoid faux indignation as its authoritarian counterparts can. Even if the MSM WERE to hyper-focus on the Sproul conspiracy (since it is in FACT a real one)it still wouldn’t have the same kind of traction for saner minds.

    Hey, here’s one!

    How do you know if a conspiracy theory is true or not?

    Its true if no conspiracy theorists believe in it.

  • yoav

    The RNC needs to come clean on this.

    I’m sure they will, they will attach all the details to the list of loopholes Mittens is going to eliminate to make his tax cuts revenue neutral.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    Another example of IOKIYAR.

  • AsqJames


    This with the caveat that ‘None of the above’ be an option in the voting booth for all elections.

    A few other countries (Australia springs to mind) have “mandatory voting” too, but none of the above need not be included to make it work. I put mandatory voting in quotes because in most cases you don’t actually have to vote, you just have to show up at your designated polling station and get your name ticked off a list. I don’t know how it works exactly in the US, but here in the UK that already happens. Once that’s done you either vote for a candidate, spoil your paper or bugger off back to the pub.

    Maybe it should be called “mandatory election attendance” (although that too is a misnomer when you consider postal voting)?

    One reason I can’t see it happening in either the US or UK though is that it will almost certainly see large increases in both spoiled ballots (which should probably be read as None-of-the-above votes) and 3rd party votes. Such a result would both weaken any office holder’s claim of a mandate to govern and put pressure on them to modify their policies to attract those dissatisfied voters.

  • busterggi

    Simple – he’s still working for them decause he’s doing exactly what he was hired to do.

  • What they did, quite obviously, is to “fire” Sproul in public and then keep working with him under different names.

    Which isn’t even new. Apparently, before they hired Sproul for the this election, they sent him a memo advising him to change his organization’s name because of allegations of improper conduct during the last election. So, in other words, they knew he had a history of throwing registration forms for democrats out, hired him anyway, and just hoped that operating under a new name would be enough to sweep that history under the rug.

  • mobius

    And an even more troubling question (for me) is “WHY is Sproul still working for the Republicans?”

    I know that the history of the Democrats is far from lily white, but it seems that in recent years the Republicans have really become the party of sleaze.

  • martinc

    ashleybell @ 6:

    in Brazil, voting is manditory.

    Voting is mandatory in Australia too. Well, it’s mandatory to turn up and receive your ballot: you can of course leave it blank or spoil it if you like.

    There’s a number of advantages to mandatory voting.

    1) Everyone has some responsibility for the government.

    2) It’s easy to predict voter turnout, so queueing is rare.

    3) Voter fraud is much harder to perpetrate, becuase there is no large pool of unregistered voters for fraudsters to pretend to be.

    4) The election tends to be about Candidate A being better than Candidate B. In America, a candidate not only needs to convince you that he is better than the alternative, but that the difference is important enough to make you give up some time and effort to go and vote. This tends to lead to much more shrill politics in the US: politicians have to scare the people into voting, so they have to turn the opponent into Satan.

    Other voting methods Australia does that I would recommend:

    Vote on a Saturday, not a weekday. This means that everyone can get to a polling booth easily. Also, public schools are available to be used as polling booths. They’re easy to find, they’re otherwise unused on Saturdays, and they’re local.

    Use preferential voting. It prevents candidates bankrolling faux candidates to split the vote on the other side. Preferential voting means that instead of just choosing your favorite candidate, you list them in numerical order. Thus if you vote Candidate A 1st, and Candidate B 2nd, and Candidate C 3rd, if your favorite candidate (A) is eliminated first (primary vote less than the other two) then your vote goes to your second-favorite (B) to determine whether B or C get in. In effect, it’s like having a run-off election, but all at the same time. Lacking preferential voting makes it very hard for the USA to move out of its locked-in two-party system, because any potential new party never gets to the threshold of being elected without along the way scything votes away from the existing party they are most similar to. If a left-wing party started up in the USA, it would steal votes from the Democrats, and would result in Republicans getting elected: the worst result for the new party. Similarly, if a right-wing party started up in the USA, it would steal votes from the Republicans, and would result in getting Democrats elected: the worst result for the new party. This entrenches the existing parties, to no good purpose. In Australia, a new party can start up, and win a small number of votes, knowing those votes will preferentially flow to the existing party most similar to them. In time, if the new party reflects the voters’ needs more than the old similar party, they will start to finish ahead of the similar party on primary votes, and that party’s preferences will then flow to THEM. It results in an evolutionary change of political parties.

    It can be a bit harder to interpret results though … when the two conservative parties are getting 30% of the vote each, and the centre-left candidate is getting 40%, it can be a bit disconcerting to the uninitiated to hear the commentators talking about how the centre-left guy has no chance, but it is a close race for victory between the other two!

  • mobius

    It seems the Republicans think they should be able to accuse the Democrats of anything, and that they themselves should be able to get away with anything.

    I am certain that for some, the parties are reversed, but this attitude seems all too prevalent in the Republican party.

  • John Hinkle

    That could mean 1 state. Or 2. Or 30. You get the idea, I’m sure.

    The DOJ should be sniffing around those 106 counties that are going to decide the election. Those are likely where Sproul’s minions are.


    And if I were in the Obama campaign (or supporting PACs thereof), I’d be running ads in those counties warning people of voter registration dumpage, and advising them of how to check their registration.

  • kangxi

    There’s an article in today’s Times (London) by Daniel Finkelstein, the paper’s chief leader writer. It gives an interesting account, from an outsider’s point of view, of the reason why the 2 US political parties have polarised over the last 30 or 40 years into the entrenched viscerally opposed blocks that they now are. If you will indulge me, I’ll give it to you here:

    It is almost painful to record what happened to the Democrat George McGovern when, in 1972, he won his party’s nomination to run for president against Richard Nixon. But if you want to understand what is happening right now between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney it is worth the trouble.

    You see, McGovern ran perhaps (actually, a bit more than perhaps) the most hapless campaign of the modern era. Right up to the time of his death earlier this week, the Senator remained angry about losing, and a touch surprised. That he ever experienced the latter emotion is extraordinary.

    So chaotic was McGovern’s effort that he ended up delivering his speech accepting the Democratic nomination at 2.45 in the morning. His Convention was taken over by hippies voting on acid, and radical campaigners in ethnic dress sitting on the floor crosslegged chanting mantras. In the contest for Vice-President, votes were cast for Mao Zedong.

    He might have proved a less controversial selection than the man McGovern had backed. Senator Tom Eagleton was chosen primarily because no one knew enough about him to veto him. It soon turned out that he had a history of psychiatric problems. He had to be replaced.

    McGovern had run as the candidate trying to overthrow the old order of the Democratic Party, and an overthrow of order is precisely what he achieved.

    The columnist Scott Reston noted at the time that “the only logical explanation of the Democratic presidential campaign so far is that it must have been planned by the Republicans”. As Rick Perlstein records in his book Nixonland: “Little did [Reston] know, his joke was literally true.”

    The Watergate burglary in 1972 was not an isolated incident. It was part of an extensive campaign to encourage the Democrats to choose the least electable candidate. Nixon operatives had harassed any politician capable of winning against the President.

    The campaign plane of the frontrunner, Ed Muskie, would land in the wrong city, his pilot having been slipped a forged schedule; his workers would wake up in their hotel to find someone had stolen all their shoes; a pizza man would arrive with 100 mysteriously ordered pizzas and demand to be paid.

    Letters on one candidate’s stolen stationery would accuse another of having been arrested for homosexual acts or fathering a love child. A populist racist candidate, prompted by the Nixon team, joined the race, splitting the vote of all the candidates on the centre and right of the party. It all helped McGovern on his way.

    What they were after, these two very different men, McGovern (a fine, decent man of principle) and Nixon (every bit the crook he is popularly thought to be), was fundamentally the same. And they got it: a realignment of American politics into parties of left and right. The 1972 election initiated the party politics that Americans now live with.

    It was a big change. The Democratic Party had been the home not just of liberal leaders but also of some of the most vile racist politicians of the South and the most culturally conservative leaders in the North. It was driven by machine politicians and authoritarian union bosses. Now the bosses were out and the South had been lost.

    The Republicans were the party of business but also of the urban middle class. Mitt Romney’s father, George, was a leading supporter of civil rights, and his mother one of the most important figures in the nascent women’s movement of the 1960s. Yet George had been a serious contender, at one point the frontrunner, for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968. After Nixon and McGovern, a candidacy like his would not be viable.

    In 1972 Nixon was the clear winner of the new party politics. He won almost everywhere, in almost every state. McGovern was crushed. But the long-term impact of the realignment has been rather different.

    Gradually the fluid politics of the past were replaced by much clearer party orthodoxies. Politicians who had worn their party identity lightly begun to adhere predictably and consistently to the platform positions. Reaching out across party lines became harder and harder. Liberal Republicans ceased to exist. Conservative Democrats became fewer and fewer in number. And party support became equally predictable and consistent, becoming geographically entrenched.

    And the two parties now divide the spoils almost evenly. This election joins many recent contests in being unbelievably close. It is impossible to separate the poll ratings of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney even when you take into account the second decimal place. And the winner of the presidency may well have to share power with representatives from the other party dominating Congress.

    No one seems to have an imaginative political strategy for breaking the deadlock and building a new majority. Instead everyone digs themselves in deeper and shouts louder. When Barack Obama lost the first debate, his supporters suggested his best bet was just to be more aggressive. He followed this advice and his supporters found this depressing change encouraging. The Republicans can hardly complain, since their attacks have often been even more shrill.

    The British system is designed around party control and is reeling as that party control loosens. The opposite is happening in America — a system designed for loose coalitions of individuals and bipartisan respect for each other is reeling as party loyalty tightens.

    And from this, Americans are not the only losers. The authority of the last three presidents has been greatly undermined by partisan rejection of their right to govern. A simple lack of respect has impeded budget negotiations, undermining the most important economy in the West. Acceptance of the president’s good faith, a critical element in setting foreign policy, is lacking.

    At a time when Europe is in confusion, and there is war in Afghanistan and death in Syria, what is needed is a big figure, someone to help to provide the leadership of the free world. What we may get is a party politician whose writ doesn’t run to the bottom of the White House lawn.