For the last two weeks, Republicans have been telling us that all of the national polls showing Obama destroying Mitt Romney in this year’s election are untrustworthy and are all biased towards Obama.  But that talking point is just a distraction, and the GOP knows that they are facing an enormous uphill battle with candidate Romney.  And that’s why they’ve been working so hard to keep Democrats away from the voting booth this year, and in their desperation, they’ve now turned to one of the dirtiest, dishonest men imaginable – a man named Nathan Sproul.

Below is a transcript of Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio interview this week with investigative journalist Brad Friedman, where the two discuss the GOP’s voter suppression schemes that are taking place in states across the country.

Mike:              So Brad, Nathan Sproul.  He’s somebody you’ve followed over the years.  What a creepy little character.  Tell me the Nathan Sproul story.

Brad:               Yeah, Nathan Sproul he shows up in election after election year after year.  He’s hired by the top Republican Party, the presidential candidates.  He worked for Bush-Chaney in ’04, for McCain-Palin in ’08.  Once again he was hired as a paid political consultant by Mitt Romney this year and he is the owner of a company by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting that is at the center of a GOP voter registration fraud scandal which is currently rocking the State of Florida and at least four other states where this firm was working.

Sproul has been notorious over the years for his companies.  He’s had a series of names on those companies Sproul and Associates, Lincoln Strategy Group.  He’s been accused of doing things that Republicans have been accusing ACORN of doing for years even though ACORN hasn’t!  Namely …

Mike:              Well first of all let’s before we go there, Sproul to put some image to this guy.  He has a history of being caught actually shredding voter registration cards, changing the names and addresses on voter registration cards so that when people show up at the polls they can’t vote because the addresses are wrong, all these scams that were already taking place by Sproul before the Republicans hired him.

Brad:               That’s right.  He has been accused in states like Arizona and Oregon, California of doing exactly that. Throwing away democratic registration forms, shredding them, changing the party affiliation from Democratic to Republican and as you say in this case now in Florida it’s being found that registration forms had addresses changed so existing voters who may have already been registered may show up to the polls this November 6, going to vote and finding out they’re no longer on that precinct’s registration rolls anymore.  They will be disenfranchised.

They may be able to vote with a provisional ballot but the way the laws are in Florida if you cast your provisional ballot at a precinct … at the wrong precinct then election officials tell me they’re not even allowed to open the envelope!  So yeah we’re looking at potential disenfranchisement here by a company that has a known history of doing this and I should point out however that though investigations have been brought up in state after state so far Nathan Sproul and his companies have managed to escape any criminal charges yet. There’s now an election fraud complaint against them in Florida by republicans!

The Republicans that actually hired this company and asked Nathan Sproul to create a brand new company back in June so that people wouldn’t notice that he was involved with it given his horrible reputation over the years.

Mike:              Well that’s just cover.  That’s just cover.  The truth is they paid the guy $1.3 million at some point.  They knew about his history.  They knew he was the go to guy for dishonesty in voter registration, they sought him out.  Romney specifically sought him out to work on his campaign so this is a guy that they went after him because he is so dishonest.  The Republicans said this is our guy.  That’s the story to me isn’t it?

Brad:               They certainly knew about his background.  That’s why they specifically asked him to create a company that wouldn’t have his fingerprints on it.  This company Strategic Allied Consulting was created in Virginia in June of this year.  By the way it’s not just $1.3 million, that’s what the Florida GOP paid him.  That company was the top expenditure of the Florida GOP this year even though they’ve only been operating for two months, the Republican National Committee paid $3 million to this guy and a guy they knew was shady, who they asked to please don’t put your name on the corporation’s registration.

Mike:              Because you’re so shady.  Yeah.

Brad:               Yeah.  Because they knew in advance.  Now when all of this came out it was rather amusing last week to see the Republican Party Communication’s Director Sean Spicer say that, oh well when we learned about this we acted swiftly and boldly.

Mike:              No.  Ridiculous.  They … again this is the guy they sought out and hired.  There are tons of people who do this, so you go after Nathan Sproul because he’s a thug.  I mean that’s it.  You have the history of his shredding documents.  You have plenty of history in states all over the country and now you go out, seek him out and say this is the guy we want doing voter registrations in Florida.  What … how bad is this down in Florida?  How do you even fix this problem?  I don’t even know how you fix the problem.

Brad:               Well we’re still learning how bad it is.  Right now it has spread to 11 counties across the state where they’ve found hundreds of fraudulent forms turned in.  I’ve been speaking with election officials down there who are scrambling as if they don’t have enough to do this time of year, to go back through thousands, tens of thousands of registration forms that have been turned in by this company to sort of revalidate them to make sure they’re legitimate.  So election officials are scrambling there, they’re meeting trying to figure out how to deal with this, what to do.

Mike:              Where is Mr. Sproul … is the state attorney’s office, are they involved?  I mean this is something the state attorney’s office needs to be really zeroing in on.  Not just the election commission.  This is felony stuff here man.

Brad:               You’re talking about the state attorney of the State of Florida.

Mike:              Correct, correct.

Brad:               So keep in mind it’s the state attorney in Florida.

Mike:              But wait just a second now.  The state attorney’s offices in these states, they’re a lot of Democrats.  In other words if you take a state attorney say in South Florida he may be a Democrat.  Now that’s not the same as the Attorney General who’s through and through Republican.  So you have some individual counties where the State Attorney’s office can do a lot.

Brad:               Well I hope you’re right, because right now the complaint has been made … the registration forms were turned over to the State Attorney a week ago Monday by the Palm Beach Election Supervisor Susan Booker.  On that very same day before she turned them over to the State Attorney she called the Secretary of State’s office to inform them what was going on.

This is the same Secretary of State Ken Detzner, handpicked by Governor Rick Scott there who has been pretending there is massive voter registration fraud going on that requires them to purge the rolls of non-citizens and really what they’re doing is knocking off legitimate voters off the rolls; but she called him on Monday a full week later the Secretary of State has never called her back so they don’t really care about registration fraud at least in the Secretary of State’s office.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has a record of overlooking this stuff.  You know Mike I’ve talked to you for years about Ann Coulter’s demonstrable voter registration fraud and voter fraud that she was caught dead to rights.  Well she was let off the hook by Florida law enforcement over the years.

Mike:              This is a little different because this is systemic.

Brad:               I hope you’re right.

Mike:              Brad, the reason this may have some better possibilities is because in each jurisdiction in the State of Florida, any jurisdiction where this occurred, if you’ve got a state attorney’s office that understands the seriousness of this it doesn’t take all of them going after Sproul.  It only takes one of them to say, okay this happened in my jurisdiction I’m going forward with it.  So that is definitely a possibility.  Obviously the politics are overwhelming here but it at least is a possibility of one of these state attorneys grabbing hold of this and saying this is just beyond my tolerance.

Brad:               It’s funny because you and I are sort of switching roles here.  You’re a lot more optimistic in this case than I am for a change.  You know we’ll see what they do with it.  I would love to see the U.S. Department of Justice brought in on this because we’re talking about not just Florida and not just some of the Florida counties that are covered by the Section V of the Voting Rights Act but we’re talking about other battleground states.  North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia.

Mike:              And we know at this point that we have reports of this same thing occurring in those places?  Or some of them?

Brad:               It’s beginning to emerge as of now.  Yeah, we’re seeing reports in Colorado and Nevada of Democratic registration forms that were torn up so they’re looking at those in those states as well the election officials in each of those states are doing what they’re doing in Florida which is combing through all of the registration forms turned in by the Republican Party this year collected by this Nathan Sproul group Strategic Allied Consulting and trying to determine if they’re legitimate or not.

Mike:              Where is Sproul now?  Where is this guy?

Brad:               Sproul is based in Tempe, Arizona.

Mike:              Is he just kind of in hiding now or what?

Brad:               Actually I’ve been talking to him and he may be coming out on the record to discuss what is going on.  He has made certain comments to a few folks in the media.  He was the one who said that the Republican National Committee asked him to create this shell company.  The Republican National Committee has since said, oh that’s not true.

Mike:              So they’re trying to throw him down the hole?

Brad:               They’re throwing him under the bus!

Mike:              And he says uh, uh not so fast.

Brad:               Yeah, he’s coming out looks like he’s coming out fighting.  This guy’s a street fighter for years with the Republican Party.  He’s not going to go down easy so I mean he’s already come out and said that the Florida Republican Party has made potentially libelous statements against him, so this is a good old family feud if you will.

Mike:              He realizes if he’s charged then the only way to fight his way out is saying you’re looking at the wrong person.  I built the structure according to what the Republicans wanted.

Brad:               That’s exactly what he’s saying.

Mike:              If I were advising him as an attorney now’s his time to get out of all this.

Brad:               Now there’s one other point that I want to make sure that we hit here because there’s something else that has emerged out of …

Mike:              By the way Brad as you talk to him if he needs some people I’ve got some people that would be glad to help him with that.  I mean literally they’ll be in Vegas this next week, some of the best in the country, and they’d love to be able to say look they’re getting ready to throw you under the bus, what you might consider is fighting back because you’re the guy looking at the pokey not them.

Brad:               I will pass that word on to Nathan Sproul.

Mike:              Do it.  Tell him to come … invite him to Vegas.  You’re going to be in Vegas with me so invite him and we’ll have a face to face.

Brad:               I will indeed. Sounds like it could be fun.  Now one other point I do want to make on this because this is really troubling and beginning to emerge from this entire scandal.  Which is just days before I broke the story about what was going on in Florida and Palm Beach County there was a video that went viral of this young girl, a registration worker in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  You remember that video?  She asked, she said to a potential registrant, oh I’m taking a poll would you support Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

Now what is troubling about this is clearly she is screening out potential Obama voters and is only going to give a registration form to the woman if she’s a Romney supporter.  Now it was troubling when you see it on video in this viral video and we have it at BradBlog.com but what is beginning to emerge is this tactic has happened all over the country in Virginia where this Sproul group was operating, in Nevada where the Sproul group is operating but as well in places like Oregon and California where Sproul tells me he is not doing voter registration this year.  This seems to be a national strategy.

Mike:              Have you talked … did you talk to this young girl? In the video it’s almost as if she’s been … it’s obviously been told what to do but she actually thinks she’s working for the state in some capacity.

Brad:               It’s unclear if that’s what she thinks.  She says she’s working for the country clerk’s office but apparently Sproul’s group require them to sign a confidentiality agreement that they won’t say who they’re working for so when she was asked who is paying you if seems she was worried about violating that confidentiality agreement.  So instead of saying the Republican Party or Strategic Allied Consulting, who it has now been confirmed that she was working for, instead of that she said, oh I think it’s the county clerk.

This is what they’re doing.  This is a dishonest tactic where they are … where registration workers are going out and pretending, lying to voters pretending to be poll workers saying I’m taking a poll.  Are you in favor of Obama or Romney?  If you say Obama they say oh, okay great thank you for taking our poll.  If you say Romney they say great, can we sign you up to vote.

Mike:              So here’s this kid being paid $13.00 an hour, probably has no political affiliation to the Republicans at all, she’s just out there working being told here’s what you say and this is not just happening through the Sproul group this is happening with other Republican organizations throughout the country.

Brad:               This seems to be a nationwide strategy to lie to dishonestly represent what is going on.  This is what the Republican voter registration workers are doing now apparently all over the country this year.  It’s … the legality is certainly questionable.  The ethics are not.  I believe it is just absolutely deplorable they way they’re doing this and I’m looking at the laws in various states to find out if in fact this is actually illegal.  What’s surprising here is that in many of the states I’ve looked at so far that practice may not be illegal for third-party registration workers which is stunning to me.

Mike:              Jesus Christ.  It is.  It’s beyond belief.  Brad thanks a lot.  Thanks for staying on the story this is … you know we’ve got four weeks left I think it’s … unlike everybody else in the media I think this is still a hell of a horse race.  It could come right down to the line and these things that you’re talking about, these things that you’re following they could be the whole difference in this election so I thank …

Brad:               A lot of people are saying the polls are overwhelmingly for Obama right now none of those polls take into account the voter suppression effort the Republican Party is making across the country.

Mike:              Not at all and we won’t even see it until election day.  Brad thanks for joining me.

Brad:               My pleasure Mike.

For more on voter suppression, visit Brad Friedman’s website at www.BradBlog.com.

SHARE
Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced