WASHINGTON - Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is spearheading the Capitol Hill investigation of Republican Party voter registration fraud, even as the GOP continues to gush slogans of "voter integrity," attempting to impose photo IDs and other measures to suppress the votes of African Americans, Latinos, seniors and youth.
Cummings, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, took the lead in the probe even as scandal engulfed the Republican Party of Florida, caught red-handed in voter registration fraud by its hired agent, Strategic Allied Consulting (SAC). The Florida GOP hastily terminated its contract with SAC.
But Cummings, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus from Baltimore, sent a letter to GOP consultant Nathan Sproul, founder of SAC, asking him to provide documents "relating to allegations of widespread irregularities in the voter registration efforts of Strategic Allied Consulting."
SAC has submitted more than 100 fraudulent and questionable voter registration forms across the Sunshine State. Florida Republican officials paid SAC $1.3 million to register voters. The Republicans then filed an "election fraud" complaint against the Tempe, Arizona-based company.
The Republicans hired SAC to register voters not only in Florida but also in other battleground states including Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia. The SAC scandal recalls the stealing of the 2000 election in Florida when the Republican-right-dominated U.S. Supreme Court halted the vote count and handed the White House to George W. Bush even though he had lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore.
Cummings denounced the Republican National Committee, charging that they were aware of similar voter registration fraud by a previous incarnation of SAC dating back to 2004, when Sproul employees "registered Democratic voters in Nevada and Oregon" and then destroyed their forms.
"Instead of the RNC having a 'zero tolerance' for voter fraud, you claimed that RNC officials asked you to form your new company, Strategic Allied Consulting, in June for the specific purpose of concealing your connections to these previous allegations," wrote Cummings in his letter to Sproul.
"In a blunt concession, you reportedly stated that you 'created Strategic Allied Consulting at the request of the Republican National Committee because of the bad publicity stemming from past allegations.'"
Cummings asked Sproul to provide copies of all contracts and correspondence with the RNC, state political parties, and other entities in establishing the company as well as all materials used for voter registration training and any information alleging irregularities with its voter registration efforts.
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif., a loud-mouth GOP hatchetman ever ready to attack organized labor and any other progressive organization that seeks to defend working people. Yet Issa has remained silent on this strong evidence of Republican voter fraud.
In his letter to Sproul dated Oct. 1, Cummings wrote that investigators had discovered questionable registration forms in 10 Florida counties.
"For example, the Palm Beach elections supervisor said many registrations had similar signatures and apparently phony addresses, including a gas station in Miami, a medical building in Boca Raton, and an automobile dealership in Palm Beach County," Cummings wrote. "In addition, the Okaloosa County elections supervisor said the suspected fraud included apparent cases of dead people registered as Republican voters."
Reports of improper activities by SAC have now spread to other states. A Fox affiliate in Denver reported that a SAC official "admitted on videotape that they were registering only Republican voters because, as she stated, 'We're out here in support of Romney,'" Cummings wrote.
The GOP's voter suppression drive is facing sharp fightback across the nation with courts and Democratic state governors blocking draconian photo ID requirements and outright purging of voter rolls in many of the 30 states where these measures have been imposed.
The latest victory is Pennsylvania, where Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson listened to witnesses offer proof that tens of thousands of low income voters will be disenfranchised by the Republicans' photo ID requirement.
Simpson ruled that voters without photo ID must be allowed to cast regular ballots this fall. "I am still not convinced ... that there will be no voter disenfranchisement," if the law takes effect immediately, he said.