Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain is paying a top GOP operative whose tactics include destroying voter registration cards and disenfranchising voters

“The Difference Between ACORN And Sproul Is That ACORN Doesn’t Throw Away Or Change Registration Documents After They Have Been Filled Out.”

- Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) [Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee, 05/14/08]

Nathan Sproul – Top GOP Dirty Trickster

Sproul Is Former Exec. Director Of AZ GOP, AZ Christian Coalition, And Head Of The Controversial GOP Consulting Firm Sproul And Associates.
According to Alternet, Sproul is “the former Arizona Republican Party and Christian Coalition director, has cozy ties to a group of consultants working on the Bush/Cheney campaign. According to a Democratic source well-placed in Arizona political circles, Sproul’s firm, Sproul and Associates, operates next door to the office of Gordon C. James Public Relations (GCJPR) in Phoenix, a Republican PR company which is coordinating various Bush/Cheney campaign events nationwide and has provided PR services for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.” [Alternet, 10/15/04]

Sproul And Associates Scrubbed Its Name To Form A New Company Called “Lincoln Strategy Group.” According to the Arizona Republic, “Arizona Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Jessica Pacheco announced Friday that she’s teaming up with Republican strategist Nathan Sproul in the formation of Lincoln Strategy Group, named for our nation’s 16th president. Employees of Sproul & Associates, including former Arizona GOP spinmeister Garrick Taylor, are joining the new firm, as are a couple of other players whose names can’t yet be announced.” [Arizona Republic, 12/09/07]

Lincoln Strategy Group Website Still Refers To Itself As “Sproul And Associates.” According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, one member of the staff has the following in her biography: “Chris brings in over 10 years of experience in organization and office management to Sproul & Associates.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/19/08]

Nathan Sproul Is The Managing Partner Of Lincoln Strategy Group. According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, “Nathan Sproul is the managing principal of Lincoln Strategy Group.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/18/08]

McCain Has Hired Sproul For The 2008 Election – And Maintains Close Ties To Sproul’s Firm

The McCain Campaign Paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group At Least $175,000 This Year For Voter Registration. According to CQ Money Line, “CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY/V8” paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy $175,000 on June 9, 2008 for “registering voters.” CQ Money Line notes the California Republican Party/V8 committee is sponsored by “McCain-Palin Victory California.” According to a Sarah Palin fundraiser letter in California, the “McCain-Palin Victory California” committee is a “a joint fundraising committee by and composed of the Republican National Committee, the California Republican Party, and McCain-Palin Compliance Fund.” [CQ Money Line, accessed 10/18/08; Sarah Palin fundraiser letter, accessed 10/18/08; Federal Elections Commission July Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08; Federal Elections Commission Statement of Organization file, accessed, 10/20/08]

The Republican Party Has Additionally Paid Sproul At Least $37,000 This Year For Voter Registration. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Republican Party paid Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy $15,000 for ‘voter registration’ on February 14, 2008 and $22,000 on April 1, 2008. The Federal Elections Commission shows the Pima County Republican Party committee made the payments. [Center For Responsive Politics, accessed 10/18/08; Federal Elections Commission May Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08; Federal Elections Commission March Disbursement file, accessed 10/20/08]

Nathan Sproul’s Business Partner Jessica Pacheco Is An Adviser To John McCain. According to a McCain campaign press release, Jessica Pacheco is on John McCain’s National Hispanic Advisory Board. Referring to members of the Board, John McCain said, “I look forward to their support and expertise as I work to take on the tough challenges facing all Americans.” [John McCain campaign press release, via States News Service, 12/09/07]Sproul Employs Former John McCain Staffer Chuck Coolidge. According to the Lincoln Strategy Group website, “Chuck Coolidge joined Lincoln Strategy Group in March of 2006. […] Prior to joining LSG, Chuck worked for Senator John McCain in Tucson and Tempe as the Southern Arizona correspondent and also managed Senator McCain’s Arizona federal grants program and Arizona press articles.” [Lincoln Strategy Group website, accessed 10/18/08]

Sproul Has Donated Nearly $30,000 To McCain’s Campaign. According to CQ Money Line, Nathan Sproul has donated $29,600 to John McCain’s campaign this year. An analysis of CQ Money Line shows Sproul has donated $25,000 to the McCain Victory 2008 PAC, and has donated $2,300 twice to John McCain 2008 Inc. [CQ Money Line, accessed 10/19/08]

Two Key Operatives Who Worked For Sproul In 2004 Now Work For PR Firm Hired By McCain For 2008 Campaign. According to Alternet, “as chairwoman, Lisa James operated directly out of Sproul’s office” and “Meghan Rose, worked with Sproul on a clandestine campaign to get Nader on the Arizona ballot last spring.” According to the Phoenix Business Journal, “Gordon C. James Public Relations is handling logistical work for an April 5 McCain campaign event in Prescott and could plan more events for the Republican candidate.” According to the Gordon C. James Public Relations website, both Lisa James and Meghan Rose are employees of the firm, and John McCain for President is a client. [Alternet, 10/15/04; Phoenix Business Journal, 04/04/08; Gordon C. James Public Relations website, accessed 10/20/08]

Sproul Accompanied Cindy McCain To The 2000 Republican National Convention. According to the New York Times, “Nathan Sproul, executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, said the state’s 30 delegates had unanimously voted for Mrs. McCain to lead them at the Republican convention from July 31 to Aug. 3 in Philadelphia.” [New York Times, 05/15/00]

Sproul Orchestrated Massive Voter Registration Fraud Effort During The 2004 Presidential Election – Systematically Instructing Workers To Illegally Destroy And Discard Democratic Registration Forms

The Republican National Committee Paid Sproul $7.8 Million For 2004 Election Work. According to the East Valley Tribune, “Sproul was paid millions by the Republican National Committee to boost their numbers. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the RNC paid Sproul and Associates more than $7.8 million in 2004 for consulting and various other fees.” [East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]

In Nevada, Sproul’s Front Company Was Investigated For Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms. According to CNN, in Nevada during the 2004 Presidential election, a probe was launched to investigate a “private voter registration firm, Voter Outreach of America, which collected registrations from voters in Nevada, a pivotal presidential battleground state. The company was set up by Sproul & Associates Inc., a Republican political consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.” An employee “Eric Russell, alleged that he saw a supervisor destroy forms collected from Democratic voters. KLAS quoted Russell as saying that ‘we caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant, and he ripped them up right in front of us.’” [CNN, 10/14/04]

In Nevada, People Who Registered As Democrats With Sproul Found Their Names Absent From The Voter Registration Rolls. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, “Eric and Traci Amberson went to the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday, claiming a Republican-financed voter drive either lost or destroyed their registration forms.” The article notes, “The Ambersons’ voter registration receipts show their forms were among a batch assigned to Voter Outreach of America, which is operated by Sproul & Associates of Phoenix.” Additionally, the article reports, “The Ambersons registered as Democrats on Oct. 2 with a canvasser outside the Wal-Mart story on Kietzke Lane. The couple didn’t give it a second thought until they didn’t get their sample ballots in the mail.” [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]

In Oregon, Sproul Was Investigated For Destroying Democratic Voter Registration Forms. According to KGW News, canvassers “collecting signatures in downtown Portland, who said he was instructed to only accept Republican registration forms. He told a KGW reporter that he ‘might’ destroy forms turned in by Democrats since he was being paid by the Republican party.” County Clerk Barbara Nielson “said she had gotten calls from Roseburg-area voters who said that canvassers from the Sproul group had implied that their cards wouldn’t be turned in if they registered as Democrats.” Additionally, “a librarian was approached by a group claiming to be affiliated with the progressive, nonpartisan America Votes organization, with a request to set up registration booths in the library. […] When librarian Megan O’Flaherty probed into the group, she found that instead, they were part of Sproul & Associates, and had nothing to do with America Votes.” [KGW News, 10/13/04]

In Minnesota, Sproul Was Accused Of Firing Workers For Bringing Back Democratic Registration Forms, Incentivizing Discrimination Against Democratic Registrations. According to the Star Tribune, “Three former canvassers for a company working in Minnesota to reelect President Bush have come forward to say they were paid bonuses for registering Bush supporters but got nothing for registering voters who favor challenger John Kerry. One man, who worked for only a few hours for the company, Sproul and Associates, said it was implied that he could be fired for coming back with only Kerry registration cards.” Other canvassers said they were paid “$13 an hour, with the $3 bonus for every Bush, undecided or Ralph Nader voter registration. Canvassers returned that information, and verifiers called those who registered to confirm their support for Bush. In one case, Banse said, he registered his brother, who is a Kerry supporter. When the verifiers called to check the brother's support for Bush, the brother lied to get Banse the bonus.” [Star Tribune, 10/27/04]

In Pennsylvania, Sproul Was Accused Of Instructing Workers To Avoid Registering Democrats. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Sproul & Associates, a consulting firm based in Chandler, Ariz., hired to conduct the drive by the Republican National Committee, employed several hundred canvassers throughout the state to register new voters. Some workers yesterday said they were told to avoid registering Democrats or anyone who indicated support for Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/20/04]

In West Virginia, Sproul Was Accused Of Instructing Workers To Avoid Registering Democrats. According to the Charleston Gazette, Sproul’s “employees were to approach One Stop customers and ask if they favor George Bush or John Kerry for president. If Bush was their answer, they were then to inquire if the person was registered to vote and offer them a voter registration card. If the person supported Democrat Kerry, they were only to say thank you and give them a registration card only if asked.” [Charleston Gazette, 08/20/04]

Sproul Systematically Employed Deceptive Tactics To Only Register Republicans, And Told Workers To Turn Away Democrats. According to Salon, Sproul’s “canvassers were told to act as if they were nonpartisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media.” The article also notes, “if the respondents to this pretend poll said that they were Bush supporters, canvassers were told to offer to help them register to vote. If they said they were Kerry supporters, the canvassers would politely walk away.” [Salon, 10/21/04]

Sproul Deceived Libraries, Claiming To Be From America Votes, –To Set Up GOP Voter Registration Efforts. According to the Main Tribune, “Meghan O’Flaherty, headquarters library manager, contacted Kevin Looper, who informed her America Votes did not hire the firm. That’s when she learned that Sproul & Associates, Inc. is a political consulting firm headed up by former Arizona state Republican Party executive director Nathan Sproul. […] Sproul & Associates, Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., phoned and mailed the library in September, saying it had been hired by America Votes. That came as news to America Votes..” [Main Tribune, 09/21/04]

Republican Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT): “The Difference Between ACORN And Sproul Is That ACORN Doesn’t Throw Away Or Change Registration Documents After They Have Been Filled Out.” According to a Congressional Hearing transcript, Congressman Chris Cannon said, “the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.” [Joint Hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee, 05/14/08]

Oregon State Investigation “Confirmed Suspicions That Some Disturbing Things Happened,” But Lack Of Evidence Halted Criminal Prosecutions. According to the Associated Press, “State Elections Director John Lindback said Friday that while the state’s investigation did not turn up large numbers of forgeries or alterations of voter registration cards, ‘it did confirm suspicions that some disturbing things happened.’ Myers and Bradbury, in a joint release, said the state’s inquiry "confirmed instances of wrongdoing by some persons" involved in the voter registration solicitation efforts. However, they said, the state's investigation ‘was thorough and comprehensive and concludes that insufficient evidence exists to commence criminal prosecution against the organizations and individuals named in the complaints.’ Still, the two officials said the problems in 2004 underscore the need for the Legislature to make it illegal for canvassers to be paid for each voter registration card they collect a system that they say encourages fraud and abuse.” [Associated Press, 09/22/06]

Bush Administration’s Department of Justice Refused To Investigate Sproul; Instead Invited Him To The White House Christmas Party Following The Election. According to House Judiciary Congressional Testimony, New York University Law Professor Mark Miller noted, “Sproul & Associates clearly merited a full investigation by the Justice Department; and yet the DoJ did nothing. If there has been a federal probe of Sproul's activities, I've never heard of it. Far from coming under federal suspicion, Nathan Sproul, the firm's director, was invited to the Christmas party at the White House two months after the election.” [House Judiciary Congressional Testimony, 05/14/08]

Sproul’s Dirty Tricks Extended To Other Campaigns

During 2006 Midterm Elections, Wal-Mart Banned Sproul’s Partisan Voter Registration Efforts In Tennessee. According to the Associated Press, “The Republican National Committee confirmed Wednesday that it hired a voter registration group that was banished from Tennessee Wal-Mart stores for failing to meet the retailer’s standards of nonpartisanship. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. told Liberty Consultants a group paid by GOP operative Nathan Sproul to sign up voters that it could not set up voter registration stands on its properties last week.” [Associated Press, 08/24/06]

In Arizona, Sproul Employed Deceptive Tactics To Gain Signature For Anti-Clean Elections Referendum. According to Salon, Sproul “was hired by No Taxpayer Money for Politicians to conduct a signature drive to get the anti-Clean Elections bill on the ballot.” Sproul’s petitioners would “routinely just lie about the nature of the bill they were hawking. Even though their measure repealed Clean Elections, canvassers would say either that the measure didn’t alter Clean Elections in any way, or that it actually helped Clean Elections.” [Salon, 10/21/04, emphasis original]

Sproul Was Behind GOP Efforts To Place Nader On The Ballot. According to the American Prospect, “In addition, according to several sources, the Nader campaign was assisted in its petition drive by an unlikely figure: the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, Nathan Sproul. Sources say Sproul -- who is also spearheading an initiative to block public funding from political campaigns in the state -- made payments to the petition contractors working on his public-funding initiative to gather signatures for Nader as well.” [American Prospect, 06/25/04]

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