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GOP voter registration scandal grows more serious

What started as an isolated voter-registration controversy in Florida is quickly expanding -- and becoming an ACORN-style headache for the Republican Party.A
Republican operative Colin Small
Republican operative Colin Small

What started as an isolated voter-registration controversy in Florida is quickly expanding -- and becoming an ACORN-style headache for the Republican Party.

A man who was being paid to register voters by the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested Thursday after he was seen dumping eight registration forms into a dumpster.Colin Small, 31, was working as a supervisor as part of a registration operation in eight swing states financed by the Republican National Committee. Small, of Phoenixville, Pa., was first hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm that was fired by the party after suspect voter forms surfaced in Florida and other states.The owner of a store in Harrisonburg, Va., told a local television station that he became suspicious when he saw a car with Pennsylvania plates dump an envelope in back of his store. He recovered the envelope and alerted authorities.

Small was hired as a supervisor by Strategic Allied Consulting, which happens to be owned by Nathan Sproul. And who's Nathan Sproul? He's the Republican consultant with a lengthy record of scandals and accusations of fraud, who was hired to oversee the RNC's voter-registration efforts in swing states -- right up until Sproul's firm was caught allegedly submitting fraudulent voter registration forms in Florida.

Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, which paid more than $3 million to state committees to hire Sproul's firm, said Small was immediately fired, which is nice, but doesn't address what appears to be a larger series of 2012 election crimes.

What's more, before the RNC tries to blame Sproul's firm alone for hiring Small, let's note that the accused describes himself as a "grassroots field director for the Republican National Committee," though the RNC's Spicer denies this. It's not yet clear which of the two is telling the truth.

Also keep in mind, 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." I've seen some reports that this is a "new" Republican firm working with the state and national parties on grassroots activities, but it would appear Strategic Allied Consulting is new in name only.

Update: The L.A. Times report excerpted above describes Small as having been hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, but there are competing reports that suggest the accused worked for Sproul's firm by way of a payroll company called PinPoint, which has been used by Strategic Allied Consulting to pay workers for the firm's Republican registration drives. PinPoint has been connected to the GOP firm elsewhere, including in Florida.