Archive for March 22nd, 2009

22nd March
2009
written by Mike
Exactly who is this Nathan Sproul? He is a graduate of the Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, and a Republican political consultant and strategist with ties to the Arizona GOP and the Christian Coalition. Early in his career he worked tirelessly to end sex education in his state. In 2004, he was instrumental in the nearly successful efforts to remove the Arizona Clean Elections Law. Sproul also set up a voter registration drive in 2004 called “America Votes”, which just so happened to have the same name as a progressive group trying to expand the electorate. His intention was to register as many new Republicans as possible. This in itself is not illegal, but the methods that Sproul and Company used to do so were highly suspect.

 

The new firm managing the “grassroots” campaign for the coal industry has a history that distinguishes it as being one of the most notorious voter fraud organizations in the country:

- In Oregon and Nevada, Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — was investigated for destroying Democratic voter registration forms. The Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign paid Sproul $7.4 million for campaign work. [CNN, 10/14/04; KGW News, 10/13/04; East Valley Tribune, 09/07/06]

- In Nevada, people who registered as Democrats with Lincoln Strategies — then known as Sproul and Associates — found their names absent from the voter registration rolls. [Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/29/04]

- During the 2006 midterm elections, Wal-Mart banned Lincoln Strategies for partisan voter registration efforts in Tennessee. The Republican National Committee had hired the firm. [Associated Press, 08/24/06]

- In Arizona, Lincoln Strategies employed a variety of deceptive tactics — including systematically lying about the bill — to push a ballot initiative to eviscerate the state’s clean elections law. [Salon, 10/21/04]

- Lincoln Strategies, then employed by the Republican Party, was behind efforts to place Ralph Nader on the ballot in states such as Arizona. [American Prospect, 06/25/04]

Even former Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), during a hearing on voter fraud, admitted that “the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

After the coal industry was caught red-handed stealing letterhead and forging fake letters in opposition to clean energy reform, they simply blamed their contractor — a firm with a long track-record of providing exact type of astroturfing they were caught doing. Now with the coal industry hiring a firm with a long history of fraud and possible criminal activity (the Bush administration declined to ever investigate Sproul and his Lincoln Strategy firm), it is clear the industry is interested in defeating clean energy with deceit and purchased support.

Sproul and his group have been repeatedly investigated for voter fraud. His own employees have alleged that they were specifically instructed only to register Republicans, and told to shred thousands of forms submitted by people wanting to become new Democrats. Yet even with his terrible track record, and the small amount of local media attention he has drawn to himself and his company, Nathan Sproul remains a trusted operative of the GOP. During this very presidential race, John McCain has directed $175,000 worth of funds to Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group for get-out-the-vote efforts. Meanwhile the Republican National Committee has diverted $37,000 to the Lincoln Group during this cycle, explicitly for registering voters.

 

What makes all of this especially problematic is how vocal Sproul has always been in support of McCain and the Far Right Wing of the Republican Party. He’s given the McCain campaign $30,000 of his own money for this election. He is absolutely dedicated to winning at any cost, and I believe characterizations of him as “Arizona’s Karl Rove” are unfair to Sproul, as he is quite obviously more of an idealogue. While it’s true one could make the case that ACORN leans politically left, there is a big difference, as Republican Congressman Chris Cannon noted in May of this year: “The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

 

It is widely believed that Sproul will do anything possible to advance his political agenda. Since 2004, Democrats in Congress have been aware of both his objectives and methods. In fact, in October of 2007 Representative John Conyers complained that the Bush Administration Justice Department had refused to closely scrutinize the activities of Sproul and the Lincoln Strategy Group. Given the ample assistance Sproul provided to Bush in the 2004 presidential race, I guess that’s not surprising. But what is surprising is that the mainstream press has remained mum about this fraud, especially if you believe that the corporate-owned media has a “liberal bias” (as many on the Right maintain). Why aren’t Sproul and his Lincoln Strategy Group household names, like ACORN? I guess you’ll have to decide that one for yourself.

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