Nathan Sproul

Republic Report has covered how political money can corrupt government by influencing the actions of elected representatives. But professional hacks can also disrupt democracy by interfering with the voting process itself.

Late last year, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign began paying Nathan Sproul, a political consultant with a long history of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives. Sproul, who changed his firm’s name from Sproul and Associates to Lincoln Strategies, has received over $70,000 from Romney’s campaign. Much of the campaign coverage has focused on the rhetoric of surrogates and the role of high-priced television advertisements. But if Sproul continues to play a role in the campaign, and if his previous work is any guide, his firm may have an impact on key swing states.

ThinkProgress covered Sproul and his work for the coal industry. The post, which is partially reprinted below, goes through his greatest hits, including evidence that his firm systematically suppressed Democratic overs on behalf of the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential team and deceiving voters during registration drives in 2006:

- 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]

Though Romney and his allies have decried supposed voter fraud by his opponents, they don’t have any evidence that people are illegally voting. Most accusations of Democratic voter fraud center on registration forms filled out by fake people — usually because signature gatherers are paid per-form — but these accusations do not include examples of these fake people actually attempting to vote. On the other hand, when a person goes to vote and learns their voter registration form was never turned in, they are denied their rights. Former Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT), during a hearing on voter fraud observed, “so the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

Republic Report reviewed disclosures from the Federal Elections Commission. Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy Group has received about $71,391 in payments for “field consulting” and “rent & utilities” by the Romney for President Inc. committee from November 30th through March 2nd of this year.

Lincoln Strategy Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Filed under: Grassroots

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  • earl callahan

    Color me surprised.

  • hepette

    repukes will stoop down low into the gutter to do anything to prevent the dems from winning. voter suppression is heinous.

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  • Pduncan2000

    Maybe the “anonymous” gang can help…

  • rainey13

    With each revelation of things like this, I keep hoping that the teapubs have hit a new low. Alas, I keep getting proved wrong, and they sink even lower.

  • Jill Yeagley

    The DNC better get busy with a plan to “out” Sprol’s company and its relationship with Romney. I’ll be damed if I am going to accept another election being stolen!

    • Chuck711

      The election is already well on the way to being stolen. See what Gov Scott is doing in Florida, and the people are silent.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1026883350 Pam Tucker

        Nope! We’re not silent. We’re working hard against Scott’s tactics. You may not hear us, but we’re out there removing his obstacles. I pray that we will succeed

        • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.leeperrothbell Kathy Leeper Roth Bell

          you go Pam, I hop you get my money hungry SOB!

      • http://www.facebook.com/carol.graffius Carol Graffius

        The fact that I post and tweet everything I read says I am not silent. Not only do I post, I spread far and wide to my 30 plus groups on issues like this. I am not the only one,there are thousands of us.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.leeperrothbell Kathy Leeper Roth Bell

        Not not silent . thew crook promised he was not going to fire people and he cleaned house. My sister lives in Crawfordville and worked at the lodge as assistance for the lodge. He cam in and sold the Lodge to a private sector and fired all the State Employees with all their benefits. Anmd don’t even let me get started on all the teachers he has fired. He is big money man that wants to be a bigger money man and he don’t care who he hurts!

    • Randoen

      we accepted it in 2000 and 2004, why not 2012?

      • TWS

        Because of 2000 and 2004. You answered your own question.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1026883350 Pam Tucker

        Part of what has been done is to remove that whole “hanging chad” type ballot. They may steal it, but they’ll have to find another way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/carol.graffius Carol Graffius

      I won’t accept it anymore! The lot of them along with sproul must be prosecuted for fraud. We have lots of private prisons to house them. They should receive the maximum of fines to be placed in the taxpayers national piggybank to pay down the debt. Reince Priebus and who ever was chairman during all those elections must be prosecuted. How about Jeb Bush as well. Taxpayers should sue these frauds till they have nothing left in their piggybanks. I want some heads!

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  • http://ingaza.wordpress.com/ the dissenter

    Romney should hire Burston Marsteller already and get it over with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Glackin/100000892011713 Joseph Glackin

    Sproul should fit right in with the Romney Machine.
    When Willard left office here in Mass. in ’06, his staff scrubbed or destroyed all the computer memories in the Statehouse.
    no fingerprints were recovered.

    • ballanross

      The way I heard it was the rule said that you could buy your actual hard drive on your way out the door. The government would replace it with a new one you paid for and you would have security with personal material.

      Of course haircutter Romney just bought his way around that, and Massachusetts let him, by giving everybody the money to buy their hard drives and give them to him on their way out the door. At a good profit. Plus some more. In that way, he erased his administration. The hard drives vanished of course, destroyed physically. Totally outspent the purpose of that rule.

  • CatKinNY

    There has been rampant election fraud in the US during this new century, but it has all been on the part of Republican officials and operatives, and in close elections, it really makes a difference. 2000, 02, 04, 06, 08 all saw instances of irregularities that favored Republicans. Remember Diebold voting machines, the US Attorney scandal, the jamming of phones at Democratic get out the vote centers on election day to prevent voters from getting rides to the polls, the nationwide disinformation campaigns centered in poor districts to prevent voters getting rides , the wholly made up Acorn scandal, the ‘caging’ of voters in minority districts where they sent registered letters to voters which they knew couldn’t be delivered since the recipient was serving in Iraq and then removed them from the rolls based on the non delivery, the Ohio district that produced 3,000 votes for Bush in 04 despite the fact that there were only 600 voters on the rolls? The list is endless. The GOP, knowing that their agenda would ultimately render them losers at the polls, set out long ago to counter that electoral reality by stealing elections. We, as a nation, have ignored this problem for far too long. Vladimir Putin knows this history far better than most Americans, and used it quite effectively to tell George Bush to take his criticism of Russian elections and shove them. Bush shut up immediately and permanently. Look at the ongoing protests in Russia over elections in the past few years. Why are Russians so much smarter, and braver, than Americans? How did we ever win the Cold War?

    • Cflawt

      Oh RIIIIGHT! Like the Dems haven’t STOLEN, or had massive voter fraud in its political portfolio.

      • CatKinNY

        Not in more than 50 years, actually. Do some real research, which means you can’t get your info from Sean, or Rush or any of the other conservative talkers, and you’ll find out the whole ‘election fraud’ meme is itself a fraud to enable the GOP to do a lot of things, like scrubbing voter rolls of legitimate registrants, etc, to steal elections. The GOP Speaker of the House in PA, Mike Turzi, just flat out admitted, on camera, that his states new voter ID law was intended to steal the state for Romney. Are you really dumb enough not to be able to see that the constant campaign to trash anyone who isn’t a white male would cause them insurmountable problems at election time without resorting to fraud? Grow up.

      • pattreid

        You, Cflawt, have put out for all to see your complete ignorance of the reality of the situation. There is a huge difference between registration fraud and voter fraud. On the Dem side, there was registration fraud done in their name due to hiring people to register voters, and those people were paid “per name” they turned in. Those bogus registrations were thrown out and no illegal votes were cast. The true voter fraud that has been documented is measured in 100th’s of one percent. Most documented vote thefts (petitions being tossed out in WI, for example, that called for a recall of Walker) have rested on the GOP side, most “irregularities” such as hanging chads, lost ballots, etc. have rested on the GOP side as well, particularly in the last 10 years. Do recall, FL had a similar purge of it’s voter rolls prior to the 2000 Presidential election. And, just FYI, FL’s “latino problem” is not what it is in some other states. Most latinos in FL are Cubans who are legal here (and tend to vote more republican than most), so selecting latino surnames to purge is simply an exercise in eliminating those who are most likely to vote Dem (seniors and other-than-Cuban latinos).

        Why do YOU think that suddenly in 2011, 34 states have begun to enact voter ID laws, demanded by their GOP officials? Because the last Presidential election got away from them and they cannot bear to have it happen again. Clearly their candidate sucks, so they have to find a way to help him win an election he’d lose otherwise. This was stated bluntly by Mike Turzi in PA: Voter ID so Romney can win: DONE! How much of a slap in the fact of one person/one vote is THAT?? Free country, my arse.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Martin/100001770188269 Michael Martin

          Exactly! Mike Turzi’s comment is a glimpse into their real reason for doing this.

        • http://www.facebook.com/kathy.leeperrothbell Kathy Leeper Roth Bell

          pass the word Patreid, even in Illinois we care

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1026883350 Pam Tucker

        Well, now, that certainly makes voter suppression a good thing, doesn’t it Tell you one thing, Dem or Repug – none of you bastards will be stealing my vote, and you certainly won’t steal it based on what someone else did. Don’t even think about it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/carol.graffius Carol Graffius

        Who is attempting to disenfranchise millions of qualified voters since the election of President Barack Obama? All of those voter I.D laws are being introduced by one party, only. Why don’t you come up with proof to support your argument.

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  • Rosco1776

    And all you hacks think there is a difference between the two parties? LOL! Take your partisan blinders off. The whole system is corrupt, the most money spent wins and the wheels keep spinning towards the cliff by both parties. Get a clue people!

    • Dr Conner

      Hey. Hey. Hey… Did you know that when you act all childish and stuff it lets everybody know that they don’t have to pay attention to your opinion… especially when your opinion is even more childish than your behavior? Just a tip for future opinionating.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003883600812 Chris Johnson

        HB 347, Glass-Steagall repealed, cronyism at Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac, Dept. of Justice and BoA, Domestic drone surveillance request. I think the average Republican surrorter is a “crypto-fascist-zombie” But if you are not mature enough to recognize the patent corruption in the Democratic party…I think it’s because most of you are cowards. “the tree of liberty has to be refreshed from time to time with the BLOOD of tyrants and PATRIOTS. OWS is the offspring of Arab spring? (America’s priviledged fucking citizenry always wanting to band wagon and claim to be part of something without paying your dues.) When you’re ready to DIE for your freedom…you’ll regain an opinion that matters. Till then rest assured the wealthy WILL NOT ALLOW you to legislate away their power. Are you “MATURE” enough to digest that…Think before you criticize others I doubt if you are any more enlightened

    • http://twitter.com/LIBERTYUSANOW FIGHT 2 SAVE USA !!

      FALSE ! U …..need…..to…..get…..a……clue.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003883600812 Chris Johnson

        HB 347, Glass-Steagall repealed, cronyism at Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac, Dept. of Justice and BoA, Domestic drone surveillance request. I think the average Republican surrorter is a “crypto-fascist-zombie” But if you are not mature enough to recognize the patent corruption in the Democratic party…I think it’s because most of you are cowards. “the tree of liberty has to be refreshed from time to time with the BLOOD of tyrants and PATRIOTS. OWS is the offspring of Arab spring? (America’s priviledged fucking citizenry always wanting to band wagon and claim to be part of something without paying your dues.) When you’re ready to DIE for your freedom…you’ll regain an opinion that matters. Till then rest assured the wealthy WILL NOT ALLOW you to legislate away their power. Are you “MATURE” enough to digest that…Think before you criticize others I doubt if you are any more enlightened

    • Patt

      I tend to agree, Rosco1776, but in a less-of-evils framework, I’ll take the Dems over the GOP any day of the week. Those in the GOP believe, not so differently from any dictator in history, that they are in the right and any means justify the end result of being in power.

    • baystater

      Not with 2 or 3 SCOTUS appointments on the line. That might be the most important reason to get off the couch and re-elect Obama, whether or not you’re disappointed with this or that. Jill Stein has ZERO chance and Ron Paul is just a far right Texan who has three good ideas, none of which will get pass the US Congress/Senate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1026883350 Pam Tucker

      Then sit your behind on the couch and watch! See what the sidelines will get you. You should get a clue and participate in changing the system that you so openly despise rather than pointing out vague problems which you offer no solutions for. Thankfully, the many people who fought and died for the right to vote didn’t think like you. Had they sat down and simply criticized, we’d be back at the 3/5th’s of a man, poll tax, and guess the number of coins in the jar when we tried to vote. We’d like to eliminate the electronic equivalent of that regardless of who you vote for — be part of the solution.

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  • 1castironcook

    Seems like those who like to remind us most about our freedoms and the constitution are the ones most focused on abusing it! I fought for an eared the right to vote at 18 and now so many people are trying to cheat people of that right. To many have died to protect our rights if we let this kind of behavior continue shame on us.

    • JamiG4

      I learned long ago, those who protest the loudest are often the biggest offenders of whatever they are protesting. They think we ALL do what they actually DO. And they are usually afraid we all will find out what they are doing… I too hope there is an outing of firms like this. There should be criminal repercussions – this is TRULY stealing democracy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carolynmpascoe Carolyn Pascoe

    Romney should be ashamed. Voters should cast their votes with the knowledge that their vote is counted fairly. If any voting fraud is happening on the Republican side it should be noted and voiced by all Americans.

    • glorrierose

      Romney knows no shame. In his world, winning is everything. He will lie, cheat, steal…whatever it takes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740014081 Paula Garfield

    Romney..Karmas oming for u..if its here, the feds have as well. We r tired of ur lies, cheatn..ur corrupt n u will b held accountable

  • Rmeecha

    The mantra of the GOP “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying hard enough”.

  • Dkbertoch

    am I surprised,, not in the least… especially here in Nevada as for Republican shame, they don’t understand the concept, “all’s fair in 21st Century politics” might as well be their motto

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  • NoBodyScanners

    The ONLY way rescumlicans can win ANYTHING is to lie, cheat and steal.

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  • ballanross

    “firm systematically suppressed Democratic overs on behalf of the Bush-Cheney 2004″

    Too important to me to just try to guess what “overs” was supposed to be.

    A little help here, Lee Fang, if you please?

    • ganmerlad

      I think that was supposed to be “voters”.

      • ballanross

        Sounds right. Thanks.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Shideler/100000978181912 Ann Shideler

    When I lived in Texas, it took 3 tries and 6 months to register to vote as a Democrat. I was convinced that my 1st 2 applications dropped off at the post office were destroyed.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523257110 Chelly Smith

    WHEN TRYING TO UNDO…WHAT YOUR ENEMY IS DOING, DO NOT PUT IT OUT, WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO UNDO THEIRS…GEEEEZ

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  • http://twitter.com/MichaelHeynz Michael Heynz

    Lee Fang is AWESOME! Look at the date on this article, this is before the news got out that Sproul was weeling dealing and double dealing down in Florida… Can you imagine if this had been a democrat?

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  • EasySolutions

    A little clue: NEVER register with these on-the-street people; go to your local city hall or court house where they legitimately register you to vote.

  • Lisa Bragg

    I broke the original story about Voter Registration Fraud in West Virginia during the 2004 election. Sproul & Associates hired a local temp agency, Kelly Services, to steal Republican votes. I reported the fraud to the Charleston Gazette, WSAZ News, Attorney Generals Office, NPR, LA Times, etc. and was interrogated by the FBI who instructed me to stop talking about it. My family told me to leave it alone that no one cares. Well I guess they were right. If a person goes out and steal a stick of gum they are arrested and charged with theft. If a person goes out and steals thousands of votes they are rewarded with dinners to the White House and millions of dollars in cash and other perks. Needless to say I have lost faith in voting and our justice system. Nathan Sproul and others like him should never be allowed to profit from stealing votes. What a shame that 8 years later Sproul is still profiting his scams. Pitiful.

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