It's one thing for a power hungry Republican senator, knowing she has virtually no chance of winning nomination for Secretary of State -- without Tea Party approval -- to brazenly put out false propaganda that her Voter Suppression Bill is really about fighting voter fraud.
It's quite another thing when she and/or her inner circle supporters turn to perhaps the most notorious figure in voter registration fraud in America today -- Arizona's own Nathan Sproul.
For a year, the Republican National Committee has portrayed Democrats as the villains when it comes to voter fraud.
In a provocative article on CNN’s Web site, the committee’s chairman, Reince Priebus, said, “Democrats know they benefit from election fraud.”
The tables have turned, however, and Republicans are now playing defense over the role of a well-paid operative, Nathan Sproul, in a voter registration scandal that emerged in Florida and has spread to other states.And now, in an exquisite twist of irony, the Yellow Sheet reported today that Sproul has been tapped to manage a signature gathering effort hoping to confuse Arizona voters.
Meanwhile, the committee formed to fight the H2305 referendum is assembling its team. As reported Tuesday, Reagan is chairing the Protect Our Secret Ballot committee.* Multiple sources have said [Payday Jonathan] Paton will play a significant role in the campaign, Barrett Marson is expected to serve as its spokesman, and Nathan Sproul has reportedly also joined the effort. The campaign is expected to take a page out of the Restoring Arizona pro-Medicaid expansion playbook and circulate its own non-binding petitions expressing support for laws that limit voter fraud. Several railbirds said Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group has been tapped to manage the signature-gathering effort.The list of allegations of Sproul's fraudulent activities is long. But as the slithering GOP operative that he is known to be, he has found a way to slip out of the grasp of law enforcement pretty much every time. But... others have taken very real measures to insulate themselves from him despite the fact that he always seems to elude conviction.
The Republican Party, which paid Mr. Sproul about $3 million this year for work in five states, has severed its ties with him, saying it has no tolerance for voter registration fraud.
But questions about Mr. Sproul’s methods first emerged in 2004, when one of his companies, Sproul & Associates, was paid nearly $8 million during the election cycle.
The payouts made the company the seventh-biggest recipient of campaign expenditures by the committee, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.In the meantime, here's what the Washington Post reported last fall:
The man at the center of a voter-fraud investigation in Florida is a longtime GOP operative with a pugnacious streak and a controversial history among Republicans and Democrats for his aggressive tactics in registering voters.
Nathan Sproul is a businessman who rose rapidly in Arizona politics, heading the local Christian Coalition and the state Republican Party in his mid-20s. A series of voter-fraud allegations against him in 2004 did not slow his ascent: Sproul and firms linked to him have been paid $21.2 million by the Republican Party, its candidates and affiliated interest groups over the past nine years.
But the man who once accused his Democratic critics of having “hysterical fits” now finds himself isolated politically. Nine Florida counties reported to the state that hundreds of voter-registration forms submitted by Sproul’s firm contained irregularities such as suspicious signatures and missing information. State law enforcement authorities are investigating the allegations. A spokesman for Sproul denied any improprieties...Of course he denied it. What would you expect him to say?
This video, just under four minutes long, sums up Nathan Sproul quite well.
More links to reporting on Nathan Sproul's dubious enterprises:
Crooks and Liars
KPHO Channel 5 Phx
The Young Turks
Atlanta Journal Constitution -- Dissecting the GOP "in person voting fraud" fraud
And so it continues: Republicans have yet to identify any evidence anywhere in the country of attempts to alter election outcomes through in-person voting fraud.
Yet in the alternative universe that too many of them occupy — the same universe in which Mitt Romney is up 10 points in “unskewed” polling — they are somehow absolutely certain that it occurs, and these supposed “small-government” types are equally certain that new regulations and state bureaucracies all across the country are necessary to prevent it.Yet, this is exclusively how Michele Reagan has taken to justifying her sinister Voter Suppression Bill (HB2305). And thus far, NO Arizona journalist, broadcast or print, has apparently seen fit to call bullshit on her brazenly false propaganda.
Well, I call on Arizona's corporate media to refuse to allow Reagan to repeat that meme without making her provide credible, substantiated EVIDENCE that such voter fraud has occurred.
Searching Google for Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett testifying before Congress, I found ONE news item had been posted to his Secretary of State website.
Voters Peter Canova and Gina Thi Canova were indicted in 2011 for having voted twice in the 2008 general election, once in Arizona and once in Nevada. I found no document indicating which party the Canovas had registered with, but I did find a Maricopa County Superior Court docket record (Case CR2011-005543) of the proceedings.
The two were arraigned in March 2011. They apparently were given suspended sentences and unsupervised probation. On April 17, 2013, for at least one of them, a judge entered an order setting aside the judgment of guilt.
In fact, I understand that in December 2012, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett testified before the US Senate on that very subject.
As I listened to the news on the radio this morning, I think I heard (suppressed) laughter as Arizona Secretary of State told Senators that the state prosecuted a whopping, mind-boggling fifteen cases of voter fraud, in the last eighteen months. And yet, none of these were even cases of non-citizens voting, but were citizens who voted in Arizona and in another state.
I wonder how many snowbirds were inadvertently caught up in the fury, as Republicans fought so hard to hide their voter suppression efforts behind the thin veil of fraud? [...]
Likewise, the score from Arizona was 15 cases over a year and a half, while 2.3 million ballots were cast in the last election here. I could find nothing to indicate how much money they've spent pursuing election fraud cases, or how much they spend on the voter ID program in general. But, hell, that's nearly one case per month. Way to go. Clearly the election turns on all this alleged fraud.-----
There you have it, in a nutshell.
Michele Reagan wants to be Secretary of State. In the mold of disgraced -- and disbarred -- former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who aggressively campaigned to victory by pouring gasoline on the fear -- held by low-information voters -- of undocumented immigrants, Ms. Reagan is trying oh, so gallantly, to make people believe that Arizona has a voter fraud problem.
But the primary purveyors of voter fraud in Arizona appear to be Nathan Sproul and Michele Reagan.
The Yellow Sheet Report on Reagan's new committee quotes the state senator from Scottsdale as being leery of Sproul, apparently to give her plausible deniability in the event she decides to resign as chair of the committee. However, the Secretary of State's website record of the committee, Protect Our Secret Ballot is fully consistent with the YS blurb suggesting the original and primary strategy is to confuse voters.
The full name of the committee, "Protect Our Secret Ballot, in support of R-03-2014" reflects exactly what the YS blurb says they intend to do.
The campaign is expected to take a page out of the Restoring Arizona pro-Medicaid expansion playbook and circulate its own non-binding petitions expressing support for laws that limit voter fraud.The SoS record also specifically indicates the committee supports R-03-2014 which is the Secretary of State's nomenclature for the referendum to put HB2305 to a vote for a People's Veto.
Again, it's one thing for Michele Reagan to claim she wants nothing to do with Nathan Sproul (remember, she undoubtedly wants to establish plausible deniability for when she actually announces her intention to seek the office of Secretary of State). It's a completely different thing for her to be the one that put her name on the initial filing to establish the committee with full knowledge that they intend to brain fuck the voters of Arizona.
By the way, Michele Reagan and Nathan Sproul played the Yellow Sheet Report (and it's partner, Arizona Capitol Times) right into their hands.