Strategic Allied Consulting: Voter-registration firm ex-employee being investigated in Colorado
Just days before Colorado's voter registration deadline passes, news has leaked that a former employee of a controversial firm hired by the GOP to do voter registration is under investigation by the 18th Judicial District DA's office. The firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is the same one that hired a young woman caught on camera in a now-viral video saying she was only registering folks who will vote for Mitt Romney.
Thanks to an Open Records request from a watchdog group, we now know that the firm -- which is battling a controversy in Florida -- is also facing scrutiny in Colorado, at least by association. The DA's office has confirmed that an individual is under investigation for a "single act" committed while this person was working for the company.
The actions of the group are especially of concern in a key swing state like Colorado, where a small margin of voters could help decide the next president.
This issue first made headlines when the aforementioned video began to pile up views two weeks ago. Here's the full clip:
A few days later, it was reported that the young woman in the video was hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, which was already making headlines for alleged voter fraud in swing states. Fox31 reported that the Colorado Republican Party had terminated its contract with that firm, which it had hired to run voter registration and "get-out-the-vote" operations.
But there were still a lot of unanswered questions about what actions the firm may have taken in Colorado, compounded by the troubling video of the girl telling someone that she was there to "register voters for a particular party."
Now we know that an employee is being investigating here in Colorado, thanks to a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request from Colorado Ethics Watch.
But we don't know much beyond that.
Ethics Watch put in a request with the office of Secretary of State Scott Gessler -- who has battled his own allegations of voter intimidation and suppression -- for any documents or communications with Strategic Allied Consulting or the company's owner, Nathan Sproul. That request, on view below, was sent out on October 1, and yesterday, Ethics Watch forwarded us a short reply from Gessler's office, dated October 4. The deadline to register is October 9.
We have one record that meets your request, but access to the record is denied under 24-72-204(2)(IX)(A), C.R.S. The record is part of an ongoing investigation. We have forwarded the information contained in the record to the District Attorney's Office for the 18th Judicial District.Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro, who has been critical of Gessler's office, tells us that the group did not know what they might find from the request, but he says the response is proof of an investigation -- a significant discovery so close to election day.
"We send out a lot of open-records requests. We are interested in the operations of the Secretary of State," Toro says. "We didn't have any specific suspicions -- we wanted to see if there was any kind of history..... It was definitely interesting to find out that they...had turned it over to the district attorney."
Rich Coolidge, a spokesman for Gessler, says the only record that his office had on file was one relating to an investigation of a "circulator" for the firm who had allegedly discarded a form incorrectly -- and that person no longer works for Strategic Allied. Because the document is part of an investigation, his office can't pass it along to Ethics Watch or the media.
Representatives from Strategic Allied made Gessler's office and Arapahoe County aware of this individual in September -- and the matter is now in the hands of the district attorney's office, Coolidge says.
Continue for more on the controversial group and full documents.