Newspaper logo  
 
 
  Team Bush Paid Millions to Nathan Sproul--and Tried to Hide It

RNC VOTE FRAUD?

Team Bush Paid Millions to Nathan Sproul—and Tried to Hide It

by Mark Crispin Miller and Jared Irmas

All the payments by the RNC to Sproul add up to a whopping $8,359,161. Where did all that money come from? Why did the RNC suppress their real expenditures? And what exactly did Sproul do for all that pay?
In the months before the 2004 presidential election, a firm called Sproul & Associates launched voter registration drives in at least eight states, most of them swing states. The group--run by Nathan Sproul, former head of the Arizona Christian Coalition and the Arizona Republican Party--had been hired by the Republican National Committee.

Sproul got into a bit of trouble last fall when, in certain states, it came out that the firm was playing dirty tricks in order to suppress the Democratic vote: concealing their partisan agenda, tricking Democrats into registering as Republicans, surreptitiously re-registering Democrats and Independents as Republicans, and shredding Democratic registration forms.

The scandal got a moderate amount of local coverage in some states--and then the election was over. Now anyone who brought up Nathan Sproul, or any of the other massive crimes and improprieties committed on or prior to Election Day, was shrugged off as a dealer in "conspiracy theory."

It seems that Sproul did quite a lot of work for the Republicans. Exactly how much did he do? More specifically, how much did the RNC pay Sproul & Associates?

If you went online last week to look up how much money Sproul received from the Republicans in 2004, you would have found that, according to the party (whose figures had been posted by the Center for Responsive Politics), the firm was paid $488,957.

In fact, the RNC paid Sproul a great deal more than that. From an independent study of the original data filed by the Republicans with the Federal Election Commission, it is clear that Sproul was paid a staggering $8.3 million for its work against the Democrats.

How the true figures came to be revealed
On Dec. 3, 2004, the Republican National Committee filed their Post-General Report with the FEC, accounting for all expenditures between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22.

Among the Itemized Disbursements there were listed six expenditures to Sproul & Associates, amounting to a total sum of $4.5 million. Three of them were for "Political Consulting," and the other three were for "Voter Registration Costs." The RNC paid Sproul the biggest amount on the day before the election: $1,668,733.

On Jan. 7, 2005 and again on May 3, 2005, the RNC sent in revised reports. Those items were unchanged in all of them.

After they received the RNC's second revised report, the FEC expressed dissatisfaction with the vague phrase "Voter Registration Costs." In a May 18 letter to Michael Retzer, Treasurer of the RNC, the FEC requested that itemized disbursements labeled thus be further clarified.

On June 17, the RNC submitted a (third) revised report. In it, those three suspicious Sproul expenditures labeled "Voter Registration Costs" had been changed to "Political Consulting." As a "clarification," it was as vague as possible. Although it only raised more questions, there seems to be no letter in the FEC database concerning that unedifying correction.

Moreover, there are some big surprises buried in the paperwork. It turned out that the RNC paid Sproul not only for their pre-election work, but also paid them for work after the election. According to their Year-End Report, filed on Jan. 28, 2005, the RNC paid Sproul for "Political Consulting" in December--long after all the voter registration drives had ended.

And two months later, when the RNC filed their amended Year-End Report on May 3, the dates of those December expenditures mysteriously changed. A payment of $210,176, once made on Dec. 20, was changed to Dec. 22. A payment of $344,214, initially recorded on Dec. 22, was changed to Dec. 9.

As to why Sproul was being paid in December, and why the dates were changed, one can only speculate. But it may be worth noting that the Ohio recount took place from Dec. 13 through Dec. 28.

Because these amendments were made in 2005, the Center for Responsive Politics' website mistakenly allocated that money to the 2006 cycle. When we informed them of these missing numbers yesterday, CRP was quick to adjust them. They also included two more expenditures: a $323,907 payment for more "Political Consulting" (10/12/04) and $450,257 for "Mailing Costs" (10/04/04).

And there was more--much more.

Fuzzy math
The documents also suggest that the RNC may have changed the dates of nine payments to suggest expenditures in 2005, thereby shifting focus from the 2004 election.

In going through the documents, CRP located nine expenditures from the future: Sproul somehow received a total of $1,323,154 between Sept. 2 and Sept. 29, 2005. Another $472,642 is hidden in 2005. Four of those prospective items were (or will be) for "Generic Media Buys" or "Lodging, Transportation." The other four are (or will be) for "Voter Registration Efforts"--surely an expense incurred in September of last year, not this year.

Larry Noble, executive director of CRP, considers such future expenditures for, say, "Lodging, Transportation" rather odd, but he gives the RNC the benefit of the doubt. "My guess is that it's an error," he suggests. "It's possible that they're cleaning up voter registration lists in September, but it's also possible they made a mistake."

Even if that mistaken date is just a typo, it is, to say the least, not likely that they made the same mistake in nine uniquely dated items for 2004.

In any case, all the payments by the RNC to Sproul add up to a whopping $8,359,161--making it the RNC's eighth biggest expenditure of the 2004 campaign.

Sproul is currently under investigation by the Oregon Attorney General's office, for altering the voter registration forms of several thousand students in that state. Whether the new numbers are in part mistaken, they represent a huge expense for the Republicans. Given Sproul's history of serious electoral mischief, affecting countless Democratic voters in the last election, it is important that we ask some sober questions: Where did all that money come from? Why did the RNC suppress their real expenditures? And what exactly did Sproul do for all that pay? If we're going to get some reasonable answers, the FEC must undertake a very thorough audit of the books.


Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of culture and communication at New York University, is author of several books, including Boxed In: The Culture of TV, Mad Scientists: The Secret History of Modern Propaganda, The Bush Dyslexicon and Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order. Jared Irmas is a junior at New York University. Additional reporting by John Brakey.

Published by the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the authors. Originally published on Thursday, June 30, 2005 at News From Underground



Copyright © 2005 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on July 5, 2005.

 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

12.20 How School Segregation Divides Ferguson — and the United States

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

12.22 ‘I felt like a piece of trash’ – Life inside America’s food processing plants

12.21 GOP Denialism to Sink Capital: 150 Tidal Floods a Year for Washington DC by 2045 [6:32 video, Encroaching Tides' PDF]

12.20 5 Countries where Solar Power is making a Revolution

12.20 British wave power hit by uncertainty over funding, says report

12.20 EPA issues new regulations for handling coal ash

12.20 Green light for world’s largest planned tidal energy project in Scotland

12.19 The World's Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

12.19 Cheaper oil could damage renewable energies, says Richard Branson

News Media

12.19 'Nobody stood up': George Clooney attacks press and Hollywood over Sony hack fallout

12.15 The media treats Dick Cheney like the royals on vacation. He should be in jail

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

12.21 Full Show: The New Robber Barons [25:22 video & transcript]

12.20 A Vermont Senator Asks, Why Not a Socialist President?

12.18 Jeb Bush may be 'the smart brother' – but he's as much of a climate denier as any conservative

12.17 If Elizabeth Warren Says No, What Is Progressives' Backup Plan?

12.16 Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the 'Other America'

12.16 Something snapped for defeated Democrats in bruising budget battle

Justice Matters

12.18 S.C. boy executed for 1944 murder is exonerated

12.17 Los Angeles lawyers stage die-in protest against police – video

High Crimes?

12.22 The *Other* Torture Report: What the USA looks like to the World

12.19 The lack of any official condemnation for CIA torture ensures it will happen again

12.18 The Depravity Of Dick Cheney

Economics, Crony Capitalism

12.22 This Is the Stupidest Anti-Science Bullshit of 2014

12.20 Russian Roulette: Taxpayers Could Be on the Hook for Trillions in Oil Derivatives

12.19 Bleeding the IRS Will Make the Tax System Worse

12.18 Joseph Stiglitz: Economics Must Address Wealth and Income Inequality

12.18 Wealth Gap between America’s Rich and Middle-Class Families Widest on Record [charts]

12.18 Coal, an Outlaw Enterprise

International

12.22 India's bride trafficking fuelled by skewed sex ratios

12.22 The best city blogs around the world – an interactive guide [interactive graphic]

12.22 The smartest cities rely on citizen cunning and unglamorous technology

12.22 South Korea launches nuclear power cyber-attack drills after hack

12.20 Turkey’s Descent Into Paranoia

12.20 Sean Penn on Sony Pulling "The Interview": This Sends ISIS an "Invitation"

12.20 North Korea proposes joint inquiry with US into Sony Pictures hack

12.20 The Pope Francis stardust worked over Cuba. Could it work with Isis and the Taliban?

12.20 Sony pulling The Interview was 'a mistake' says Obama

12.19 MATERIAL QUESTION

12.19 2014 science breakthroughs: no more ageing, cave art and landing on a comet

12.19 Hyperloop Reality Check: Elon Musk's High-Speed Scheme Is Alive And Kicking

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web


Public Service Ads: