The Republican National Committee ran into a little trouble last week when Strategic Allied Consulting, a controversial conservative firm hired by the RNC to register voters, was accused of systematically submitting fraudulent voter registration forms. The RNC, which was paying the firm millions despite a history of similar controversies, quickly ended the relationship.
But as the scope of the scandal grows, it appears the Republican National Committee has been left in a bind -- with five weeks until Election Day, the party has no Plan B, and has now given up on registering new voters.
The Republican National Committee ended efforts to sign up new voters before the deadline in key states for the presidential race because of questions raised over registration applications tied to the party.
Republican parties in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia -- all states that both campaigns view as competitive -- fired Glen Allen, Virginia-based Strategic Allied Consulting, the company in charge of registrations, said Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. The national committee also canceled its contract with the company, its only vendor signing up new voters, Kukowski said.
Kukowski insisted that the end of the registration efforts will have "no impact" on the Republican ground game, but it's worth emphasizing that the registration deadline in the effected states range from Oct. 6 to Oct. 15. In the other words, the RNC expected to keep registering new voters in these battlegrounds for the next two weeks, but that's no longer an option.
It's seems likely the change in plans will have at least some impact.
On a related note, reader R.P. passed along another relevant detail on this story. The RNC contracted with Nathan Sproul, who created Strategic Allied Consulting, despite Sproul's controversial background. But in an amusing twist, the L.A. Times reported that Sproul "created Strategic Allied Consulting at the request of the Republican National Committee because of the bad publicity stemming from the past allegations."
In other words, the RNC was apparently aware of the accusations surrounding Sproul for years, so the party asked him to come up with a new entity to avoid the appearance of the party hiring a scandal-plagued firm -- which, incidentally, is exactly what Republicans did.