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RNC cuts ties with voter-drive firm accused of fraud

The founder of Strategic Allied Consulting says he formed the company at the Republican National Committee's request to distance the party from earlier allegations.

September 28, 2012|By Joseph Tanfani, Melanie Mason and Matea Gold, Washington Bureau

Sproul is a fixture in Arizona Republican politics. He is former head of the Arizona Christian Coalition and a veteran of a number of GOP campaigns. For three years, he was executive director of the state party.

In 2004, a company he started was paid millions by Republicans to register voters. Employees in Oregon, Nevada, West Virginia and Pennsylvania alleged they were told to register only Republicans. One worker in Las Vegas said he watched a supervisor tear up Democratic registrations. The Justice Department started an investigation, which did not lead to any charges, Sproul said.

But the record of allegations makes Sproul a lightning rod in political circles.

"There's no question if the name Sproul & Associates appeared on any filings, that would immediately raise red flags among Democrats," said Rick Hasen, an election law expert who teaches at UC Irvine.

The RNC did not pay Strategic Allied Consulting directly. Instead, Republican state parties, all in key battleground states, paid the firm soon after receiving nearly identical amounts from the national organization. The link between Strategic Allied Consulting and Sproul was first uncovered in late August by a liberal blogger in North Carolina.

Sproul said he resented the Florida party's decision to fire his firm, but had no hard feelings against the Republican National Committee. "I don't begrudge the national committee one bit," he said. "They had a distraction created for them by a state party. If I were in their shoes, I would do the same thing."

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