I-Team: Company Target of Voter Fraud Investigation - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Company Target of Voter Fraud Investigation

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Nathan Sproul is the owner of Strategic Allied Consulting, which is under investigation on allegations the company is involved in voter fraud. Nathan Sproul is the owner of Strategic Allied Consulting, which is under investigation on allegations the company is involved in voter fraud.

LAS VEGAS -- A political consultant hired to register Republican voters in Nevada and other states is now the target of a criminal investigation. According to Florida law enforcement, the company, Strategic Allied Consulting, is suspected of committing registration fraud in a dozen counties in that state. Nevada Republicans said the same company had been running voter registration efforts in Nevada but has been fired.

Strategic Allied Consulting is the focus of considerable scrutiny across the country, including the criminal investigation in Florida and a Secretary of State investigation in Nevada, but there are dots that have not yet been connected. The owner of the company should be well-known to Nevadans. The allegations about fraudulent registration efforts have been raised many times before though the names are different

"She grabbed the Democrats' (registration cards), handed them to her assistant and then ripped them up right in front of me," said Eric Russell, who in 2004 worked as registrars for Voters Outreach of America.

The group was paid $8 million by the Republican National Committee to sign up GOP voters across the country. Russell and his girlfriend, Ashley Tims, said Strategic Allied Consulting routinely trashed registration forms filled out by Democrats. The I-Team tracked down voters whose registrations were never turned in. Similar allegations against the same company surfaced in other states. Investigations were launched, including by the FBI. The GOP announced it had a zero tolerance policy for fraud.

Fast forward to 2012. The company hired by the GOP to register voters in five swing states, including Nevada, is accused of the same sort of skullduggery in Nevada, Florida, North Carolina and Colorado, where a Youtube video went viral.

What's changed is the name. Strategic consulting of today is basically the same outfit as Voters Outreach of 2004. And in the 2008 election, Nevada records show, it was operating in the state under a third name, Lincoln Consulting, but in all three elections, it had the same client and did the same work.

Owner Nathan Sproul, a longtime Republican operative, referred to as the Karl Rove of Arizona, told reporters he changed the name at the request of the Republican party so that his former controversies would not be a "distraction." In light of the criminal allegations in Florida, the GOP said it has fired Sproul. Nevada Republicans told the I-Team they have zero tolerance for election fraud and that as of this week, the company no longer registers Nevada voters. The party added that it has been double-checking registration forms.

However, at least one complaint has been filed with the Secretary of State, alleging a registration form was trashed. Local election chief Larry Lomax said he has seen few complaints this election cycle but his counterpart in Washoe County reported a huge influx of problematic registrations.

Democrats aren't the only ones grumbling about Sproul. Republicans are also expressing dismay that the party would hire him yet again, despite a long history of problems. Sproul was hired by the Mitt Romney campaign to go after primary rival Ron Paul. Sproul also turned up in Wisconsin in the Scott Walker recall effort. Allegations of improprieties surfaced in both of those campaigns. Will Sproul be hired again once the latest flap dies down?

A statement on the company website asserts that Strategic has never tolerated even minimal violations of election law and that it will continue to do this work.

The Secretary of State's office will not confirm whether it is investigating the complaint it received, but we have good reason to believe that is true. Nevada Republicans declined to comment on the record but told the I-Team the decision to hire this company was made at the national level, not by them, and they've tried to watch it closely to make sure that if problems erupted, it wouldn't be in Nevada.

Sproul has been investigated numerous times but has not been charged with violating election laws.

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