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


The Honorable John Ashcroft

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

(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

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

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

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