By Pam Martens: October 11, 2012
If you thought the Republican Party had shut down the operations of Nathan Sproul, the man under investigation for running companies engaging in voter registration fraud in 11 counties in Florida and other states, you would be wrong. A new batch of entities using Sproul’s office address and phone number have sprung up in at least five states and they are heavily advertising on the internet for “political canvassers.”
I called the number in one of the help wanted ads. When a man returned my call, I did not mislead or say that I was seeking a job. I simply asked for the name of the company offering the job. His answer was: “We’re a non-partisan organization.” I said but I’d like to know the actual name of the company. I got another marketing pitch. When I asked the question for the third time, he finally gave me the name, “Grassroots Outreach LLC,” a company I knew to be using Sproul’s address at 80 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 814, Tempe, Arizona. On the basis of that information, I informed the young man that he had misled a person he believed to be a job applicant by stating that he worked for a “non-partisan” organization. I told him I was a public interest writer who had a wealth of information to prove that this was a material misstatement of a material fact. We ended the call on polite terms.
As Greg Flynn has revealed in his fine investigative work on this matter, Sproul may have been shut down by the Republican Party in Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado but he is still actively operating in Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin. Not only is he operating there, but his help wanted ads directly suggest that the job applicant should be “Committed to the Republican Party.” Sproul has dropped the name of the firm under the current investigation, Strategic Allied Consulting, and is instead using the firm names Issue Advocacy Partners, Grassroots Outreach LLC and potentially others.
I emailed and spoke with a few employment discrimination attorneys and learned that there is no Federal law which prevents an employer from discriminating against job applicants on the basis of political affiliation. (Is this 2012 or 1912?) Some states have laws on the books making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of political affiliation; others do not.
California, where Grassroots Outreach, LLC is registered, has the following statutory language in California Labor Code Section 1101: “No employer shall make, adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy…(b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliation of employees.”
In New York State, where the “political canvasser” help wanted ads are currently running, Section 201-d of the New York State code provides that “it shall be unlawful for any employer or employment agency to refuse to hire, employ or license…an individual…because of: a. an individual’s political activities outside of working hours, off of the employer’s premises…”
In my calls to the state of Virginia, where the help wanted ads are also running, I sensed an open hostility to my question once I identified myself as a public interest writer. The State of Virginia Division of Human Rights which handles discrimination cases pled ignorance to any knowledge of where I might get an answer. I called the Virginia Department of Labor. They had no knowledge and suggested I call the State Attorney General’s office. I had to leave a voice mail. By the end of the day, I had my answer via email from Brian Gottstein, the Director of Communication for the Attorney General: “Virginia does not have a statute prohibiting discrimination based [on] political affiliation. See Virginia Code 2.2-3901.”
What is happening in Virginia is of particular note. Once documented instances of voter registration fraud emerged in 11 counties in Florida, the Virginia Republican Party said it had dismissed Sproul’s firm, Strategic Allied Consulting. As recently as August 1, 2012, the Virginia Republican Party had paid Sproul’s firm $500,000 for “new voter and absentee ballot registration” according to Federal Election Commission records. That check was mailed not to Sproul’s firm in Tempe, Arizona but to its registering agent, CT Corporation of Roanoke, Virginia whose parent is a foreign corporation based in Amsterdam, Wolters Kluwer.
Now another Sproul firm is actively soliciting jobs for political canvassers in Virginia, raising the question, if the Virginia Republican Party is not paying it, who is?