PDF of 2004 Letter from Senators Leahy, Kennedy et al. to AG John Ashcroft Seeking Investigation of Nathan Sproul Firm for Voter Registration Fraud

PDF of 2004 Letter from Senators Leahy, Kennedy et al. to AG John Ashcroft Seeking Investigation of Nathan Sproul Firm for Voter Registration Fraud

PDF of Letter Sent in 2004 by Senators Leahy and Kennedy to Attorney General John Ashcroft Seeking Investigation of Nathan Sproul Firm for Potential Voter Registration Fraud

Text version:

ORRIN G. HATCH, UTAH, CHAIRMAN

CHARLESE. GRASSLEY, IOWA PATRICKJ. LEAHY,VERMONT

ARLEN SPECTER,PENNSYLVANIA EDWARD M. KENNEDY, MASSACHUSETIS

JON KYL,ARIZONA JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., DELAWARE

MIKE DeWINE, OHIO HERBERTKOHL,WISCONSIN

JEFF SESSIONS, ALABAMA DIANNE FEINSTEIN,CALIFORNIA

LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, SOUTH CAROLINA RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD,WISCONSIN

LARRY CRAIG, IDAHO CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NEW YORK

SAXBY CHAMBliSS, GEORGIA RICHARDJ. DURBIN, ILLINOIS

JOHN CORNYN, TEXAS JOHN EDWARDS, NORTH CAROLINA

BRUCEARTIM, CHIEFCOUNSEL AND STAFF DIRECTOR

BRUCEA. COHEN, DEMOCRATIC CHIEFCOUNSEL AND STAFF DIRECTOR

October 14, 2004

The Honorable John Ashcroft

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:

CJ.anitrd

~tat[S ~rnQt[

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

WASHINGTON, DC 20510-6275

We write with profound and urgent concern about news reports of the systematic

destruction of registration forms submitted by Democratic voters in Nevada and Oregon.

As you know, it has been alleged in the last two days that Voters Outreach of America, a

private company under contract with the Republican National Committee, has solicited

voter registration forms in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, and Portland, Oregon, only to

destroy hundreds or even thousands of registration forms submitted by Democrats. Ifthe

allegations are true, many citizens who have every reason to believe they are registered to

vote will be turned away from the polls on November 2.

The company, which is run by Nathan Sproul, the former head of the Arizona Republican

Party, reportedly also has run registration drives in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio,

Minnesota, West Virginia, and Florida, leading to fears that similar illegal activity may

be occurring or may already have occurred in those states. Indeed, there are widespread

allegations of the fIrm's misconduct - in addition to the allegations that it has destroyed

voter registration forms, librarians in Oregon have recently alleged that the fIrm falsely

attempted by phone and mail to deceive them into believing Voters Outreach of America

was engaging in a nonpartisan voter registration drive.

The level of our concern has been heightened by the comments yesterday by FBI Special

Agent David Schrom that were reported by the Associated Press. Special Agent Schrom

told the AP that no Federal investigation had been launched either in Las Vegas or in

Reno, and he suggested that any investigation would likely fall under State jurisdiction.

These statements are in apparent conflict with assurances made yesterday by

representatives of your Civil Rights Division, who stated that the matter was under

investigation by the Department's Criminal Division.

In light of these disturbing allegations and scattered public reports of other voter fraud

activities, please respond to the following questions as quickly as possible:

(1) Has the Department of Justice opened an investigation of the allegations that

Democratic registration forms were destroyed by Voters Outreach of American in

Nevada? liso, who is in charge of this investigation?

(2) Has the Department opened an investigation in Oregon? If so, who is in charge of

this investigation?

(3) Has the Department opened an investigation in any other States in which Voters

Outreach of America has operated? If so, in which States? Please provide the

person or people in charge of each such investigation.

(4) Leaving aside the merits of the particular allegations at issue in Nevada and

Oregon, do you believe that it violates any Federal law, or implicates any Federal

interest, to destroy voter registration forms based on partisan affiliation in

advance of a Federal election?

(5) If these allegations are found to be sound and in violation of Federal criminal law,

what efforts can and will the Department of Justice undertake to make whole the

victims of this fraud? Will you work, beginning immediately, with the States of

Nevada and Oregon to ensure that citizens whose registration forms were

destroyed will be able to vote in the November 2 election?

The right to vote is the most basic right that any American citizen has in participating in

their government. Americans have died and are dying to defend that right. The

Department of Justice has the responsibility to vigorously defend the registration and

voting process from those who may conspire to subvert it for their own partisan purposes.

We, in our oversight capacity concerning the work of the Department of Justice, and the

American people, in their interest in protecting the most basic sacred right, need

immediate assurances that all that should be done is being done to vigorously defend the

public's voting rights, and that full remedies to restore voting access will be promptly

implemented if they are warranted. At the very least, you should launch an immediate

investigation into the activities ofMr. Sproul and his firm and collect the information

needed to allow you to alert local authorities to potential problems on Election Day, so

those officials, with other appropriate authorities, can make immediate preparations to

deal with the defrauded registrants fairly and efficiently. The response that we have seen

so far is not encouraging and pales in comparison to the seriousness ofthese allegations.

Given the urgency ofthis matter, we ask for at least an interim response to these

questions by Tuesday, October 19.

Sincerely,

7?P

t:.~ PATRICK LEAHY

United States Senator