With less than 17 days until Election Day, three top Democratic Members responsible for elections and civil rights sent a second letter to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus calling on him to make clear the nature of the RNC's associations with Nathan Sproul, a long-time Republican operative who has been dogged by accusations of voter registration fraud dating back at least to 2004.
"The American people have a right to know whether the RNC intentionally hired, or knew its contractors or subsidiaries had hired, companies and contractors with records tainted by allegations of past voter registration fraud and then directed them to conceal those records," the Ranking Members write.
This letter comes hours after the Rockingham County Sheriff arrested Colin Small in Harrisonburg, VA, and charged him with 13 counts of voter registration fraud, including eight felony counts. Small reportedly worked for PinPoint Staffing, a company hired by the Republican Party of Virginia, when he was seen allegedly throwing completed voter registration forms into the trash, a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia. PinPoint Staffing is also tied to the Florida voter registration scandal in which more than 100 suspicious voter registration forms were turned in to local election officials in more than 10 counties. PinPoint is a regular subcontractor of Sproul's company, Strategic Allied Consulting, to which the RNC has paid $3 million for "voter registration" efforts ahead of the November 6 election. Small, the man arrested in Virginia, had claimed that he was working for the Republican National Committee itself.
The Members point out that the RNC had previously claimed to have severed ties with Sproul's operations after the Florida scandal broke but an RNC spokesman confessed to the Los Angeles Times that "the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials." Sproul himself has told reporters that he continues to operate in "as many as 30 states."
The letter was hand-delivered to Republican National Committee Headquarters by staff of the Committee on House Administration at 1:00PM.
Separately, Elections Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20) wrote to the Virginia State Board of Elections to ask how it would handle further cases of potential voter disfranchisement as the scandal there continues to unfold.
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Dear Mr. Priebus:
On October 2, 2012, we wrote to request information about the relationship between the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Nathan Sproul, a former RNC contractor who is at the center of a series of serious allegations of voter registration fraud in Florida and several other states. Despite claims by your spokesman that you fired Mr. Sproul's companies based on your policy of "zero tolerance" for such allegations, Mr. Sproul has conceded publicly that the RNC was fully aware of his previous record and, in order to conceal it, urged him to establish a front company with a different name.[FN1]
Last night, it was reported that a man in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was arrested and charged with eight felonies and five misdemeanors for attempting to destroy voter registration cards of Virginia citizens.[FN2] After being alerted by a conscientious citizen, the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office arrested Colin Small, who reportedly works for the same contractor hired by or affiliated with Mr. Sproul that is also under criminal investigation in Florida. This contractor, PinPoint Staffing, apparently was hired by the Republican Party of these states and by Strategic Allied Consulting, the company the RNC hired as your only national vendor for voter registration efforts.
While your spokesman claimed that the RNC severed all ties to Mr. Sproul's companies after the Florida revelations, he subsequently told the Los Angeles Times that "the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials." [FN3]
These actions by the RNC and its contractors in Florida and Virginia highlight the importance of your providing full answers to the questions we raised in our October 2, 2012, letter. The American people have a right to know whether the RNC intentionally hired, or knew its contractors or subsidiaries had hired, companies and contractors with records tainted by allegations of past voter registration fraud and then directed them to conceal those records despite public claims of "zero tolerance." There must be a clear response to the question of whether the RNC will cut all ties to PinPoint and all of Mr. Sproul's various operations.
Tens of millions of Americans will be casting their votes over the next 17 days in what will be one of the most consequential elections in our history. Too many men and women have given their lives fighting for the right to vote, from the battlefields of Lexington and Concord to the streets of Jackson, Mississippi, for this nation to countenance actions that threaten the integrity of our elections or the right of eligible American citizens to participate in them.
You should find enclosed an additional copy of our letter of October 2, 2012. We firmly expect responses to our questions.
Charles A. Gonzalez, Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Elections
John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform