Nathan Sproul is the former head of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Arizona Christian Coalition (ah, the irony... a Christian).
Sproul is connected with the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration organization, Voter Outreach, Inc., a group that used paid registrars to register voters in a number of states including Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and perhaps more, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine and Missouri. (Others states pending, particularly swing states.) Sproul's organization also recruited registrars by fraudulently telling recruits that they would be working for America Votes, a legitimate nonpartisan GOTV operation!
But Nathan Sproul may have made one fatal mistake in his efforts... He got greedy. Yes, he failed to pay many workers and he didn't pay his rent. He pissed some people off. And he raised suspicions. There is a good chance that this may be fraud on a MASSIVE scale...
Here is the first page of a Google search on Nathan Sproul.
Some real gems turn up:
How about this newsgroup posting to a forum for librarians warning them of a possible fraud perpetrated by Sproul. It includes a description of the scam in Pennsylvania, an article from a West Virginia newspaper reporting the same scam, and a comment from a librarian in Medford, Oregon outlining the same scam in her library... all fraudulently misrepresenting the organization doing the hiring as America Votes:
Date: Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:49:58 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: SCAM ALERT: Voter Registration
We had the same thing happen here in PA. Sproul and Associates hires
Kelly temp services to do voter registration. At one library site
where they were suppose to be only doing voter registration they were
also asking people how they were going to vote. I did some research
and found out that they were doing the same thing in WV (see the
article below) and one temp worker claims that they were trained to
ask people how they were going to vote. If the person said "Bush"
they were given a voter registration form. If they said "Kerry" they
were just told thank you and no form was given. When we found out we
asked them to leave immediately. One explanation from Sproul and
Associates was that they were doing "market surveys" at some sites.
Later they claimed that it was just a problem with a few temp workers.
Sproul and Associates is headed by Nathan Sproul the former head of
the GOP and Christian Coalition in Arizona.
They also always said they represented America Votes. When I finally
asked them to give me the contact information for America Votes they
told me that "America Votes is a non-partisan voter registration drive
project of Sproul & Associates. Everything originates from this
office. There is a partisan organization with that same name."
Clearly they know that when they say they represent America Votes they
are misleading people.
Here is the article from the WV paper for more info.
VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE 'MISLEADING'
Publication: THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE
Headline: VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE 'MISLEADING'
Byline: TOM SEARLS
For a mother of two teens trying to finish up college, $9 an hour as a
temporary customer service representative sounded good.
"I wanted to find something that would work around my schedule and be
flexible," said St. Albans resident Lisa Bragg.
After spending more than an hour with Charleston personnel agency
Kelly Services last week, Bragg was hired. "They wouldn't tell us at
first what this job was," the 37-year-old Bragg said Thursday.
Then she found out it was registering Republican voters at One Stop
convenience stores throughout the Charleston region.
But she won't be there today, the first day she was scheduled to be on
"I'm giving up a job that I need," she said. "It's the only decent job
While the job was to last six weeks, the $9 an hour was far above the
minimum wage of $5.15 Bragg was offered for most other temporary
Bragg feels her employers were misleading the public, even if it's not
illegal. Employees were to approach One Stop customers and ask if they
favor George Bush or John Kerry for president. If Bush was their
answer, they were then to inquire if the person was registered to vote
and offer them a voter registration card.
If the person supported Democrat Kerry, they were only to say thank
you and give them a registration card only if asked.
If asked questions, employees were instructed, "Only state you are
there to conduct a simple field poll to see what neighborhood support
is ... a nonpartisan registration drive."
They were told to quietly listen to any person who becomes angry and
to remember, "The goal is to register Republicans and to remain
"Is this the way it has to be? People have to be sneaky to make $9 an
hour?" Bragg said.
Employees were also given the number of a Kelly Services employee to
contact if there are problems. Contacted Wednesday, two different
employees said they would have someone from Sproul & Associates, the
firm paying for the survey, answer any questions.
Later, a Kelly Services employee who would identify himself only as
"Rob" initially said a message had been left with Ben Decker at
Sproul's office. He said he had no contact number for Decker, then
agreed to release a Michigan number.
A message left with Decker was not returned.
"[Kelly Services] said the less you know about the company, the better
off you are, especially if the media would come asking questions,"
said Bragg, an admitted Democrat. "That made me more curious than ever
as to who's behind this and what's going on."
Sproul & Associates appears to be operated by Nathan Sproul, former
head of the Arizona Republican Party and a wealthy GOP activist who
has been involved in petition drives. An Internet search shows Sproul
has received some financing from national Republican groups, though it
was not clear who is paying for the West Virginia work.
Bragg, and another person working for the group, said they were told
the owners of the One Stop stores had agreed to allow them to conduct
the work on the stores' lots. Patrick C. Graney III and Michael R.
Graney are listed as the principal owners of 42 One Stop stores,
according to the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
Messages left at One Stop's headquarters in Belle were not returned.
For Bragg it's an economic loss, but one she carries with pride. She
asked about registering voters with another organization - a group
that treats those of all political persuasions the same - and found it
pays only $5.50 an hour.
"I just don't want to be in my hometown and mislead people," she said.
To contact staff writer Tom Searls, use e-mail or call 348-5192.
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Meghan O'Flaherty" <OFlaheMC@jacksoncounty.org>
Date: September 16, 2004 3:29:16 PM PDT
Cc: Subject: [LIBS-OR] SCAM ALERT: Voter Registration
Recently the Jackson County Library has been contacted by persons
purporting to represent America Votes. Our director was contacted by
a Harry Miller and asked to call an 800 number to give permission for
America Votes to conduct a non-partisan voter registration project in
our libraries. I received a letter from Sproul and Associates,a
consulting firm in Arizona,also saying they represented America Votes,
with the same request. I contacted the Kevin Looper, the Oregon State
Coordinator for America Votes, to verify the information and received
this reply from him:
"Here is what I know: We do not have a Harry Miller in our employ.
This organization is absolutely not representing America Votes, and my
National leadership is initiating action to get them to cease and desist representations that infringe upon our rights and mislead voters.
Further, Sproul and Associates is a partisan political consulting firm
Based in Arizona that works for very conservative causes and has worked to oppose campaign finance reform. Their use of our name to cover their political leanings makes me question the overall intregrity of the voter registation that they seek to conduct. I will be forwarding this information to the Secretary of State's office for further investigation."
Headquarters Library Manager
Jackson County Library Services
205 South Central Ave.
Medford, OR 97501
So here we have Sproul involved in three (swing) states, using a bogus GOTV name to disguise his organization's own name, and using fictitious names (Harry Miller) as "contacts" for those with questions.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg with Mr. Sproul and the RNC. Keep in mind that in the recruitment ads for Voter Outreach, Inc, run on careerbuilder.com in targeted states (including Missouri and Arizona), the bottom of the ads included this statement:
Paid for by the Republican National Committee. www.gop.com. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
Folks, this was an organized effort in swing states by the Republican Party using Nathan Sproul as their hatchet man.
In fact, democrats.com noted Mr. Sproul's efforts in Oregon on September 22, 2004 with this piece:
Bush Campaign 2004
Mail Tribune: "A local librarian checking on a company's request to set up a voter registration booth in the library discovered the company was not affiliated with a non-partisan national group as it claimed. Sproul & Associates, Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., phoned and mailed the library in September, saying it had been hired by America Votes. That came as news to America Votes. 'This organization (Sproul) absolutely has nothing to do with America Votes,' said Kevin Looper, the state organizing director for America Votes. America Votes is a non-partisan political organization formed in July 2003 to increase voter registration, education and participation in electoral politics. Libraries in Oregon and other states have been contacted by Sproul." A little digging by librarian Megan O'Flaherty revealed that Sproul & Associates, Inc. is a political consulting firm headed up by former Arizona state Republican Party executive director Nathan Sproul.
But they didn't put all the pieces together. Sproul is operating this bogus scam in numerous states.
In Arizona, Sproul set up an organization to battle a proposed Clean Elections initiative that was to be placed on the ballot. Clean Elections would clean up campaign financing in Arizona by delivering public funds to candidates. Sproul wanted no part of that, as this article from azcentral.com makes clear. (Note: It's a cached file so I can't post a direct link.)
The story includes some interesting history on Sproul:
Sproul, who was born and raised in Tempe, has floated between religious and secular politics. He interned in the office of then-Rep. Jon Kyl during his successful 1994 run for the U.S. Senate, a campaign buoyed by Kyl's perfect voting score from the Christian Coalition. Sproul then worked for the Arizona Christian Coalition, eventually becoming head of that organization. He became executive director of the state Republican party in 1999, stepping down in January 2002.
The Christian Coalition was under intense scrutiny for its political activities during the 1990s. As a non-profit organization, it was prohibited from working to elect candidates. But the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service determined it was too political.
In particular, the FEC cited the campaign of J.D. Hayworth in 1994, the sportscaster's first run at Congress. The FEC determined that it was improper for Thomas Grabinski, who was head of the Arizona Christian Coalition, to also work for Hayworth's campaign. Especially because the Coalition was preparing voters guides to hand out at churches - guides that were fairly blatant endorsements of Republicans like Hayworth and Kyl.
Usually, any appearance of the Coalition and a campaign working together would be deemed a violation of election law. But a federal judge said it was impossible to prove that Grabinski's work with the Christian Coalition influenced his work on the Hayworth campaign.
Sproul was also accused of questionable tactics. His name comes up in a U.S. Senate committee report on the organization's activities. The report cites an Arizona caucus meeting during the 1995 national Christian Coalition meeting in which Sproul told members to become active in politics, especially as local precinct committeemen, but to not let on that the Coalition told them to do so. An account of that meeting first appeared in The Arizona Republic.
Apparently for Mr. Sproul, the law be damned.
More tomorrow. I need to go to bed...
Update [2004-10-13 13:18:12 by Bob Johnson]: I was in a meeting all morning (those pesky clients) and I came back to find a helluva' lot of great investigative work here. Essential to the story is the opensecrets infromation on RNC payments to Nathan Sproul and Sproul & Associates under different spellings/cases.
Also critical is the fact that Sproul and his organization misrepresented themselves to voters as a legitimate, nonpartisan GOTV organization. That is fraud, my friends.
We need to keep digging on this one. And we need our heavy hitters there (hi, Kos!) to make sure this info is reaching media sources who will take our information and use their sources to dig further.
This story has the potential to upend the elections IF we can prove that these voter registration frauds were part of an organized and coordinated effort to disenfranchise voters in key swing states. That's why we need to WORK FAST.
Americans don't like cheaters. And I imagine that many swing voters and even many soft Bush supporters would turn their backs on these guys if it can be proven that the RNC engaged in widespread fraud in an attempt to win the election.
Please keep digging. Unfortunately, I actually have some work that must be done so I will be offline for most of today.
As is noted downthread under the link to opensecrets info, Sproul has been paid more than $600,000 by the Republican National Committee for his "efforts."
KEEP DIGGING! And pass along a link to this thread to news organizations. Thanks...
Nice work, folks! The media is reporting part of the story but not the entire thing. But we have them snooping.
We need to keep digging and keep up the pressure (after the debate). We need to uncover similar patterns or reports for Sproul's group in additional states. Who can we contact in other swing states who may have had dealings with these folks?
Should we try Kelly Services in swing states and see what connections they've had with Sproul?
The media is flying with this story:
The story has also appeared on NPR, MSNBC and CNN.
According to this story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, additional employees have come forward to verify the complaints of destroying/discarding Dem voter applications. The workers were only paid for turning in Republican registartions.
We MUST do some more work on the other states where Sproul and Voters Outreach was active. These include Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, Maine, Missouri and any other swing states that we can uncover.
Also, is there any connection between the fraudulent Nader petitions in Pennsylvania (thrown out by the PA court yesterday) and Sproul's organization? His group was instrumental in getting Nader on the ballot in a number of swing states. Does anybody from PA have further insight on who collected signatures for Nader in PA?
The story is getting play. We need to open more chanels of investigation.
CBS National news reports Voter Fraud Charges Out West. Great story and the deepest yet on Nathan Sproul and Voters Outreach. Please continue to contact media outlets and reference this post and those of Norwegian Chef (above).
Media outlets need to know that this goes well beyond Oregon and Nevada. Sproul was active in at least six states (and probably more) and his MO was the same everywhere. Keep up the pressure!