On Wednesday, I reported a story by connecting some of the dots between the growing voter registration form scandal in Florida to some great blogging by Greg Flynn of BlueNC.
It turns out we were right. Nathan Sproul, the infamous voter suppression operative from 2004, accused of running an operation in several states that destroyed voter registration forms signed by Democrats, had been secretly paid by Republicans this year on another multimillion-dollar contract for voter registration in swing states.
Sproul—who managed an $8 million voter outreach program for Republicans in 2004—is accused of having his workers destroy voter registration forms turned in by Democrats in Nevada and Oregon that year. Similar tactics were reported in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and West Virginia. They’re also accused of other hijinx, from gathering signatures to place Ralph Nader on the ballot to deceiving people in voter registration drives at Walmart. CBS News has reported on faxes they received showing Sproul’s firm misrepresenting themselves as the left-leaning America Votes! group.
Within a day of The Nation’s reporting the story, officials with the national Republican Party cut ties with Sproul, whose firm has already received $3.1 million for work in Virginia, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Colorado. Although the payments were made by state party committees, its now clear that the Romney campaign and the national GOP coordinated the effort.
But here’s confirmation of another wrinkle in the story—the Los Angeles Times reports that Republicans were so concerned with the many scandals surrounding Sproul and his previous work, they indeed asked him to set up a shell corporation to hide the payments. Here’s what Matea Gold and her colleagues reported today: “But his reputation is such that when Sproul was tapped by the RNC to do field work this year, officials requested that he set up a new firm to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations.” The shell is called “Strategic Allied Consulting,” but Sproul’s real firm carries the name “Sproul and Associates” and “Lincoln Strategy Group.”