Another arrest made in Nathan Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consultants voter fraud scandal in Florida

A two year voter fraud probe is wrapping up with the arrest of a former employee of Nathan Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consultants, once aligned with the Republican Party of Florida. 2-year voter fraud probe results in arrest:

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William Hazard from Boynton Beach was arrested earlier this week on allegations that he forged eight voter registration forms while working for Strategic Allied Consultants.

Hazard is the third person who has been charged in a voter fraud investigation that was launched at the urging of the party after election supervisors started flagging questionable applications.

Last year two other ex-employees of Strategic were charged. Prosecutors placed both of them on probation.

h/t graphic: Bradblog

Here’s the background from 2012 from Michael Isikoff. RNC cuts ties with firm over voter fraud allegations – First Read:

Election officials in six Florida counties are investigating what appears to be “hundreds” of cases of suspected voter fraud by a GOP consulting firm that has been paid nearly $3 million by the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five key battleground states, state officials tell NBC.

But the veteran GOP consultant, Nathan Sproul, who runs the firm, strongly defended his company’s conduct, saying it has rigorous “quality controls” and blamed the alleged fraud on the actions of a few “bad apples,” workers who were hired to register Republican voters for $12 an hour and then tried to “cheat the system.”

The allegations of suspected voter fraud committed by Strategic Allied Consulting of Tempe, Arizona spread Thursday to counties throughout Florida. At the same time, the Republican National Committee said it had severed its ties to the firm altogether.

“We have heard from supervisors in six counties that they have irregularities in voter registration,” said Chris Cate, spokesman for the Florida Department of State, which oversees the state’s division of elections.  Although local prosecutors are already investigating the firm’s conduct, Cate said state officials were also considering turning the matter over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine if there was a pattern of misconduct.

The suspected fraud included apparent cases of dead people being registered as Republican voters, said Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County and a Republican. He compared the suspected fraud to the alleged acts of ACORN, the liberal activist group that became the center of a national controversy several years ago.

In addition to Palm Beach County, where election officials initially reported 106 instances of suspected fraudulent registration forms, officials in Okaloosa, Pasco, Santa Rosa, Lee and Clay counties have also reported instances of possible fraudulent forms submitted by the firm, officials said.

* * *

Sproul, who has long worked for the GOP, also criticized Florida and national Republican officials for dumping him.

“They’re trying to get the distraction behind them,” he said about the RNC’s action.

Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC, said Strategic Allied Consulting had been retained by the RNC and state Republican parties to register new Republican voters in five key battleground states.

But Spicer said that the party’s relationship with the firm– which has been paid $2.9 million by the RNC so far this year, according to federal elections records – has now been terminated in light of alleged voter fraud linked to one of the firm’s employees that was reported this week to Florida prosecutors by election officials in Palm Beach County.

We’ve made it clear we’re not doing business with these guys anymore,” said Spicer.  “We’ve come out pretty strong against this kind of stuff — and we have zero tolerance for this.”

Strategic Allied’s parent firm, Lincoln Strategy Group, also headed by Sproul, has been paid about $80,000 by the Romney campaign to conduct “field consulting,” according to election records. Asked for comment, Sarah Pompei, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, said by email:  “We used this vendor for signature gathering services during the primary but have not used them since 2011.”

Besides Florida, Strategic Allied Consulting was hired to register GOP voters in Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. Spicer said it was the only firm hired by the RNC to conduct voter registration. In the case of Nevada, he said, the RNC was paying the firm directly. In the other four states, the firm was being paid by state parties with the funds reimbursed by the RNC.

* * *

[T]the new dispute over what happened in Palm Beach–  involving the registration of Republican voters — appears to be one of the first to have led to a criminal inquiry in this year’s election.

Christine Weiss, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, told NBC News Thursday that the alleged voter fraud by a Strategic Allied Consulting employee is “currently being investigated” by prosecutors in her office after it was brought to the attention of prosecutors on Monday by Palm Beach election supervisor Susan Bucher.

* * *

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Mike Grissom, executive director of the Florida Republican Party, said: “When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida.”

Sproul has been previously accused of suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms, and manipulating ballot initiatives. His firms — formerly Sproul & Associates, Lincoln Strategy, and Strategic Allied Consultants — had previously worked for RNC voter registration efforts during the campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain. In 2004, Democratic Senators Leahy and Kennedy sent a letter to then Attorney General John Ashcroft requesting that he “launch an immediate investigation into the activities of Mr. Sproul and his firm.” But the request did not lead to any criminal charges against Sproul.

 Here’s my post from 2012 that provides more details on Sproul’s rap sheet. It’s an election year, so it must be time for another Nathan Sproul voting fraud scandal.

The thing that really pisses me off is how political reporters in this state continue to ask this sleazeball his opinions on campaigns he is associated with as if he is legitimate, and always fail to mention his long rap sheet of voter fraud allegations. True investigative reporters would be taking this guy down for his illegal activities.

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