FDLE begins criminal investigation into possible voter fraud

7:11 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now formally investigating the company that may have illegally filed dozens of suspicious voter registration forms.

Strategic Allied Consulting was hired by the Republican Party of Florida in July for $1.3 million to register voters who support Mitt Romney, only to be fired last week after allegations of voter fraud.

A spokesperson for the company says these fake registrations are isolated incidents.

The GOP hired Strategic Allied to recruit Romney voters in four other battleground states, and has since ended that contract.

Elections officials don't believe the suspicious forms will be enough to sway the election.

Strategic Allied's spokesperson David Leibowitz told 10 News, "The company will continue to fully cooperate with any legal authorities who have any questions."

Leibowitz said 2,000 of their Florida employees are trained. They watch a 3 minute, 25 second long video as part of their training. The video's narrator says, "When registering to vote, you may not modify or falsify a voters registration form."

Then Strategic employees sign a form saying they understand and follow the voter registration rules, but somehow a couple of hundred fraudulent registrations out of 50,000 collected were submitted to elections offices in nearly a dozen counties, including Pasco.

"There's not a practice of doing this. There are some contractors that did something wrong," said Leibowitz. "This is a political business. If you look at the people who are raising a stink, they are Democrats looking for a calculated political advantage."

But some Democrats say it's about protecting the right to vote.

"Anytime anybody does something to interfere with that right illegally, I consider it criminal, unpatriotic, and simply not American," said U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D) from Maryland.

Cummings has asked the head of Strategic Allied Consulting, Nathan Sproul, to speak with Democrats from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on October 12. A congressional hearing with Republicans may follow.

"I'm concerned of them submitting fraudulent information. I'm concerned about them doing what they've done in the past," said Cummings.

Allegations have been made in other states about Strategic Allied throwing out registrations belonging to non-Republicans and altering or falsifying registration forms. Leibowitz said, "They've been investigated and dismissed as groundless."

Cummings said, "The amazing thing is for the National Republican Party to hire someone who has this kind of record."

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