Old Republican scam artists never die. They just create new shell corporations and rely on the fact that mainstream corporate media is unlikely to bother connecting any dots. So let’s connect a few, shall we?
Yesterday at Salon, Craig Unger, author of Boss Rove: Inside Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power (a new book which tracks quite a bit of Rove’s 2004 election chicanery, including the mysterious death of Ohio’s GOP election tech guru Mike Connell, etc) wrote about Rove’s ties “to shady GOP operative Nathan Sproul”.
Sproul is the paid Mitt Romney political consultant and the man at the center of the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, who, though the RNC claimed they had fired him after fraudulent registration forms were recently discovered in some 12 Florida counties, is still at work on behalf of Republicans in 30 different states, according to the LA Times. The long history of voter registration fraud allegations against his companies since 2004 are so toxic, that Sproul says the RNC asked him to create the shell company, Strategic Allied Consulting, this past June without his name on the corporate filings in order to hide his involvement. (RNC spokesman Sean Spicer claims he’s unaware of such a request, though Sproul tells us he stands by the assertion.)
Unger points to the letter [PDF] we posted late last week from Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), ranking member of the U.S. House Elections subcommittee, sent to Rove, with a series of questions about his involvement with Sproul, including the purposes of some $750,000 that Rove’s American Crossroads Super-PAC paid to Sproul, as well as questions about Rove’s dealings with Sproul and his companies “during the 2000 and 2004 Presidential campaigns”.
While the Congressman requests a response from Rove by October 23, “so that every American who is eligible to vote may go to the polls on November 06 confident that neither you nor any of your political organizations is engaged in an effort to undermine the integrity of our electoral process,” if “Bush’s Brain” stays true to form, he’ll simply ignore the Congressional inquiry entirely.
In this case, once again, he may have very good reason to, as Rove’s relationship to Sproul and the Strategic Allied Consulting firm now appear to be even closer than Rep. Gonzalez had suggested in his letter last week.
It now appears that Strategic Allied Consulting has the same corporate mailing address in Virginia as Rove’s American Crossroads PAC. Imagine that…
Late last week, the state of Florida released the original election fraud complaint [PDF] filed against Strategic last month. That complaint eventually led to the full-blown criminal investigation by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement said to now be underway.
As sharp-eyed BRAD BLOG commenter “Citizen92” noticed in those newly released documents, the “Key takeaway from this is that Strategic Allied Consulting has a business address of 45 North Hill Drive, Suite 100, Warrenton, VA.”
“Who else has a business address at 45 North Hill Drive?,” Citizen92 asked rhetorically, “American Crossroads, Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie’s 527 group.”
Indeed our good Citizen92 is correct, according to the IRS 527 filing for American Crossroads [PDF], the mailing address for Rove’s outfit is also 45 North Hill Drive, Suite 100, in Warrenton, VA.
The address belongs to HoltzmanVogelJosefiak PLLC, a top RNC law firm headed up by Jill Holtzman Vogel who also now serves as a Virginia State Senator from the 27th District.
The practice areas for the firm, according to their website, include “Election Law”, “Lobbying and Government Ethics” and “Tax-Exempt Organizations.” Perfect.
According to her law firm bio, managing partner Holtzman Vogel “specializes in ethics, campaign finance and tax exempt organizations. In addition to managing the firm, in February 2004, she was named Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committee. As counsel, she led the national party’s legal effort during the 2004 Presidential election.”
She was also on the ground for Republicans in Florida when, “During November and December of 2000, she was counsel in the Florida Presidential Recount, acting on behalf of the Bush-Cheney campaign in West Palm Beach and in Osceola County.”
Coincidentally enough, it was the public disclosure, by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, of more than 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms in that county, collected by Strategic Allied Consulting and submitted by the Republican Party of Florida, which first brought the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal to light.
His CV goes on to explain that “Prior to joining the firm, Jason was Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of Justice. During the 2004 election cycle, Jason served as Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney ’04 and Deputy General Counsel to the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Committee.”
What Torchinsky’s bio doesn’t mention? He was also counsel for the discredited American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), a phony, non-profit, “non-partisan”, “voting rights” astroturf group set up by the Bush/Cheney campaign’s General Counsel Mark F. “Thor” Hearne and the RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke back in 2005, to publish pretend reports about massive “voter fraud” by Democrats that could only be stopped by instituting polling place Photo ID restriction laws. They were creating the GOP propaganda in those years that would be used as the basis for all of the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID laws enacted by Republicans in state after state over the past two years.
We first outed the ACVR as a scam operation in 2005 when they showed up, just three days after being created, as the only “non-partisan” “voting rights” group called to testify at the only official U.S. House hearing on the 2004 Presidential Election debacle in Ohio. The hearing was chair by Ohio’s Rep. Bob Ney who would eventually go to jail for his dealings with GOP super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. At the time of Hearne’s testimony, he identified himself only as a long time voting rights advocate, forgeting to mention his high-level partisan role in the two Bush/Cheney campaigns.
Torchinsky would first rear his head on behalf of the ACVR when it was discovered that the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) —- created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential Election debacle in Florida —- had been burying a report on voter fraud, after the exhaustive, bi-partisan report found there to be “little polling place fraud”, the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions.
In 2006, the EAC, chaired at the time by a Hearne associate and hand-picked Bush loyalist, refused to release the report in its original form. Months later the original report, not the one rewritten by the EAC, eventually leaked out, and revealed that of the more than twenty-five elections experts interviewed for the report, “Jason Torchinsky from the American Center for Voting Rights is the only interviewee who believes that polling place fraud is widespread and among the most significant problems in the system.”
In 2007, I interviewed Tova Andrea Wang, the Democratic co-author of the bi-partisan EAC report, after she was finally ungagged and allowed to speak about what the EAC did to inflate concerns of in-person voter fraud in the report. She confirmed during our discussion that “of the two dozen interviews that we did do with experts and elections officials across the ideological spectrum, only one person argued to us that voter fraud at the polls was the major problem we confronted in our voting process and was sort of this epidemic.”
That person, she explained, was Torchinsky, who is now working out of the law firm where both Rove and Sproul just happen to have their operations parked for the 2012 Presidential Election cycle.
Moreover, as the Four Freedoms Blog noticed, Torchinsky is now also serving as counsel for the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, which, as you know, just like the ACVR, is completely independent from the Republican Party.
The ACVR was eventually put to bed after it was found that they were also at the heart of 2007 Rove/Bush U.S. Attorney Purge scandal, where ACVR representatives were found to have been pushing Republican US Attorneys to bring voter fraud charges before the 2004 election, despite any evidence of such fraud. [You can read our years of ACVR coverage here.]
For Republicans, these scams, including the Photo ID scam, are put in motion years in advance. Democrats still seem to have trouble understanding that. Despite the slow motion, nearly decade-long push by the GOP, through all of their astroturf groups, to create the basis for the polling place Photo ID legislation that will disproportionately disenfranchise minorities, the elderly, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters), Democrats seem to have been caught largely flat-footed this year when that legislation finally became a reality in nearly a dozen states.
But now we have, in 2012, the entire snake-pit of Republican “voter fraud” fraudsters operating out of the same law office, along with Karl Rove’s enormous Super-PACS, the Koch Brothers’ Super-PACS, and Nathan Sproul’s million-dollar voter registration (fraud) and “Get Out the Vote” firms, all working on behalf of Mitt Romney, who paid Sproul some $71,000 for “consulting” work earlier in the primary cycle. The very same folks responsible for inventing the phantom “voter fraud” menace are now found to be at the center of an actual election fraud scandal. Who could have guessed it?
Or, as Citizen92 observed: “I thought that Sproul and his companies were headquartered in Arizona. So why is one of his companies tracking back instead to the Warrenton, VA-based Holtzman-Vogel-Josefiak ‘law firm’ of ex-RNC political operatives and bamboozlers?”
“Probably because American Crossroads, Strategic Allied Consulting, and other sham organizations are part of the same Rove or RNC coordinated ‘black bag’ operation.”
Citizen92 went on to note that “Holtzman-Vogel pulled the strings in much the same fashion for Swift Boat Veterans For Truth in 2004.”
The RNC, who reportedly paid Sproul’s firm $3.1 million for his voter registration work over just two months in five key battleground states this year, where they also insisted that state GOPs hire his firm as well, initially claimed, after the registration fraud came to light, that they had “zero tolerance” for such fraud and those who practice it. After the fraud came to light, RNC spokesman Spicer claimed, they “acted swiftly and boldly” to cut ties with the group. But the reality is somewhat different. The RNC knew very well about the long history of Sproul’s companies destroying Democratic registration forms, and they hired him anyway. Worse, they asked him to create a company that wouldn’t have his name on it, in hopes of hiding the fact that he was working for them.
The RNC then claimed to have cut all ties with Sproul, yet, on Thursday, The BRAD BLOG detailed evidence showing that Sproul was still operating on behalf of Republicans in at least 10 states. The following day, the Los Angeles Times followed up with their own coverage reporting that Sproul “is now hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states.”
Is there any question but that Rove is coordinating those “Get Out the Vote” operations with Sproul, the owner of the RNC’s top and only voter registration firm hired nationally this year? Is there any question but that he’s also coordinating with the Kochs’ operations?
Neither Sproul, nor his crisis management spokesperson Bill Leibowitz of Leibowitz Solo, responded to our queries about his firm’s shared address with Rove and friends. Sproul had been speaking to us on the record, and acquitting himself fairly well, until recently, when Leibowitz advised him to no longer respond to our questions.
For the record, while Sproul’s main offices are located in Tempe, AZ, in addition to the mailing address at the RNC law firm shared by Rove’s American Crossroads at 45 North Hill Drive, Suite 100, Warrenton, VA, there is one other address associated with Strategic Allied Consulting.
FEC filings, according to Richmond, VA’s CBS 6, show that Strategic Allied Consulting LLC was registered as a corporation in June 2012 at 4701 Cox Rd., Suite 301 in Glen Allen, Virginia, 23060.
When the scandal first broke late last month, CBS 6’s Joe St. George attempted to visit that address for Strategic Allied Consulting, but was told by the firm who was located at that address that “they have never heard of the group.”
Maybe they haven’t, but you can bet your bottom dollar Karl Rove has.