Oct 19, 2012 No Comments ›› Dinah Tellya
Excerpted from Ballot Box: House Democrats on Friday amplified their pressure on the national Republican Party to come clean with its ties to operatives accused of election fraud.
Republicans for years have warned that voting fraud is frequent and Democrats are benefiting from it, but recent fraud allegations against GOP operatives in Florida and Virginia have undermined at least the second half of that argument.
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (Texas), senior Democrat on the House Administration Committee’s subpanel on elections, hasn’t overlooked the recent episodes, calling Friday for the Republican National Committee (RNC) to “give prosecutors and police the facts so they can properly investigate these allegations and bring all appropriate charges.”
“These facts are all deeply troubling. Less than three weeks before Election Day, individuals connected to a major political party stand accused of malicious and felonious interference with the electoral process,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
“We know of hundreds of suspicious registration forms. We know of attempts to destroy legitimate registration forms. We do not know how many other misdeeds remain to be discovered,” he added. “The Republican National Committee needs to act and to do so promptly.”
The GOP’s fraud troubles began last month, when Florida prosecutors launched a probe into hundreds of suspicious voter registration forms submitted by workers at a GOP consulting firm, Strategic Allied Consulting. The company, run by veteran GOP operative Nathan Sproul, was paid millions of dollars by the Republican Party this year to spearhead voter registration efforts in battleground states.
The RNC cut ties to the firm shortly afterwards, saying the episode was an anomaly.
The troubles continued Thursday when Virginia police charged a Pennsylvania man, Colin Small, with 13 counts of voter fraud for allegedly tossing registration forms into a Dumpster in Harrisonburg, Va.
Small, a former intern for Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), describes himself as a “grassroots field director at [the] Republican National Committee,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
But the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office released a statement saying Small was a voter registration supervisor working for Pinpoint, a private contractor hired by the Virginia Republican Party.
“There is no indication that this activity was widespread in our jurisdiction,” Sheriff Bryan F. Hutcheson said. “It appears to be very limited in nature.”
NBC News reported Thursday that Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting had also hired Pinpoint to perform payroll services.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said Small “is not nor has ever been an employee” of the RNC.
Spicer also rejected the notion that the episode is evidence of any broader problem, characterizing Small as “one individual” who may have broken the law.
“He was fired and now he’s being prosecuted. That’s how the system works,” Spicer said. “We have a zero tolerance for even the mere allegation of impropriety.”
Pat Mullins, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, issued a statement saying Small’s alleged actions were “a direct contradiction of both his training and explicit instructions given to him.”
“The individual in question was fired immediately,” Mullins said.
Kelly spokeswoman Julia Thornton confirmed that Small had interned for the freshman lawmaker, an unpaid position that spanned from September to December of 2011.
“He left on good terms and in good standing,” Thornton said Friday in an email.
Tina Loker, a spokeswoman for the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, said Small was released Thursday on a $30,000 secured bond.