The Republican National Committee fired a voter registration firm owned by a paid consultant to the party's presidential candidate Mitt Romney Thursday, after Florida officials traced more than 100 possibly fake registration forms back to the company.
NBC News reported that the RNC cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting (SAC), run by party strategist Nathan Sproul, had been paid $2.9 million this year to register voters in five swing states before being dismissed.
Sproul is also the founder and managing partner of another company, Lincoln Strategy Group, which records show was paid by the Romney campaign paid to do "field consulting."
A Romney campaign spokesperson told NBC via email, "We used this vendor for signature gathering services during the primary but have not used them since 2011."
Strategic Allied Consulting had been fired this week by Republican officials in Florida after 106 "questionable" registration forms were handed to the state attorney's office after being flagged for review by Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.
"When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request," state Republican Executive Director Mike Grissom told The Palm Beach Post Tuesday. "There is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida."
Sproul told NBC Thursday the incident was caused by isolated acts by individual employees, and attacked state party officials of acting "in a likely libelous manner" against SAC, and suggested that on a national level, the Republicans were moving to protect Romney from any fallout.
"In the case of the RNC, they had no choice to do what they did," Sproul said. "They're trying to get the distraction behind him."
The allegations in Florida led Sproul's firm also being fired by GOP state officials in both North Carolina and Virginia, a decision one official told WTVR Thursday did not surprise him.
"They were responsible for people that appeared in some libraries in Chesterfield County, supposedly to conduct voter registration drives," said the county's General Registrar, Larry Hawke. "But they were asking voters for whom they are going to vote."
And in North Carolina, state Democratic Party officials told WRAL-TV state Rep. Larry Hall (D) was preparing to criticize Republicans for hiring Sproul's firm before learning they had cut ties.
"Republicans are using this unethical and shady firm to try to get a leg up in this election because they know North Carolinians aren't interested in their message of slashing education to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires," Hall was planning to say in a statement.
WTVR's report on the firm's suspected activities in Virginia, aired Thursday, can be seen below