U.S.Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, on Monday demanded “immediate” creation of a bipartisan group to investigate the “growing voter fraud scandal” surrounding a company hired by the Florida Republican Party.
The issue erupted last week after Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher asked the State Attorney’s Office to look into some questionable voter registration applications. They involve a batch of 304 applications submitted Sept. 5 by a company hired by the Republican Party of Florida.
When staffers began to input the data, Bucher said they noticed “discrepancies or questionable signatures that looked similar.” Bucher said she turned over copies of 106 voter registration applications on Sept. 24.
Later in the week elections officials in eight other Florida counties reported potential problems with the voter registration applications collected by the same firm, Strategic Allied Consulting.
On Monday, Deutch – who represents southwestern Palm Beach County and northern Broward – said Scott needs to act.
Scott’s office did not reply to a request for comment from the Sun Sentinel by the close of business hours Monday. But his former communications director, Brian Burgess, who now works for the state Republican Party, issued a blistering response.
“There is only one reason Congressman Deutch would try to gum up an already active criminal investigation being conducted by competent law enforcement agents,” Burgess wrote. “He clearly cares more about trying to score political points rather than quickly and decisively identifying those who are responsible.”
Below is Detuch’s letter. Below that is Burgess' full response.
In light of the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida, I urge you to immediately appoint a bipartisan task force to investigate these allegations and ensure that the integrity of our voting rolls will not be compromised by Strategic Allied Consulting’s deliberately fraudulent voter registration operations. I also urge you to ensure that false registrations submitted by Strategic Allied Consulting do not remain on our rolls, and that you immediately investigate whether any employees involved in this scandal are still working for the Republican Party to register voters in Florida.
Given the explicitly partisan nature of this scandal, assurances must be provided to all Floridians that the investigation into these allegations is thorough and fair. So far, your inaction in the face of this scandal suggests that you are putting partisanship ahead of the integrity of Florida’s elections.
As you know, Strategic Allied Consulting was hired by the Florida Republican Party and paid $1.3 million to register voters in Florida. In Palm Beach County alone, 106 possibly fraudulent forms have already been identified. Now, ten additional counties across the state have also reported suspicious voter registration and change of address forms associated with Strategic Allied Consulting. Allegations surrounding Strategic Allied Consulting alarmingly suggest that Democratic forms were destroyed by its workers and only Republican forms were submitted. Further allegations exist that workers were illegally given quotas of new voters to register, that many forms had similar handwriting with incorrect information, and that even deceased individuals were registered.
Even more disturbing is the possibility that the fraud discovered in Florida really just scratches the surface of a national strategy executed by Strategic Allied Consulting at the direction of the Republican National Committee and Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Strategic Allied Consulting was also paid nearly $3 million by the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee for their work this election cycle. This firm was hired in Florida and elsewhere despite the fact that its founder, Nathan Sproul, has previously run firms accused of major improprieties, including trashing registration forms filed by Democratic voters. Public reports and videos also exist of employees of Strategic Allied Consulting saying that they will only register only Republican voters.
Governor Scott, we are on the cusp of a Presidential election. Disturbing reports suggest that professionally coordinated voter fraud occurred in Florida that is potentially massive in scale. Your silence and inaction are shocking and hypocritical considering you have spent the last year in an expensive and highly controversial effort to purge legitimate citizens from our rolls in a supposed search to find “voter fraud.” Your efforts to purge 182,000 individuals from our voting rolls continued until we discovered that the list was nakedly partisan and so error-ridden that it contained the names of tens of thousands of legitimate voters, including small business owners and a decorated World War II hero. Now, when an actual voter fraud scheme has apparently been discovered in our state, there is neither room nor time for the partisan allegiances that typically guide your Administration’s actions.
Governor Scott, you now have an opportunity to prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. I urge you to immediately take the following actions:
1) Work directly with all of supervisors of elections to ensure only legitimate voters were registered by Strategic Allied Consulting;
2) Appoint a bipartisan task force to investigate what, if any, damage has been done by these allegedly fraudulent registration activities, and the potentially criminal practices undertaken by Strategic Allied Consulting, Mr. Sproul, and every employee of this organization who registered voters in Florida;
3) Ensure that any individual who assisted or coordinated with Strategic Allied Consulting’s efforts is temporarily barred by the State from voter registration activities pending the outcome of a full investigation into the potentially criminal voter registration efforts undertaken by this organization;
4) Locate the daily logs of every Strategic Allied Consulting worker in order to facilitate supervisors of elections to identify all records submitted by Strategic Allied Consulting for independent verification; and
5) Establish an outreach campaign to identify and alert independent and Democratic voters who may have attempted to register with Strategic Allied Consulting only to have their registration forms destroyed and coordinate with the supervisors of elections to assist in correctly registering all eligible voters who may have been impacted by this scandal.
I look forward to working with you directly to contain and repair the potentially devastating damage to the integrity of our election system.
Statement from RPOF Communications Director Brian Burgess:
"There is no place for voter fraud in Florida. Regardless of who is doing it, it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That's why RPOF took immediate and decisive action as soon as we learned of a single instance of potential fraud from the vendor we hired at the direction of the Republican National Committee. Since that time, we have filed a complaint asking for an investigation, while the RNC and other state GOP organizations have also rightly parted ways with the company over similar concerns.
"There is only one reason Congressman Deutch would try to gum up an already active criminal investigation being conducted by competent law enforcement agents. He clearly cares more about trying to score political points rather than quickly and decisively identifying those who are responsible. The RPOF supports the already ongoing criminal investigation that will quickly identify those who engaged in voter registration fraud and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. It's sad that a member of Congress like Ted Deutch would rather bog down the investigation in a politically-charged committee, rather than simply cutting to the chase and prosecuting the individuals who broke the law."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times