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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced today that it isinvestigating a Republican voter-registration firm for possible fraud inat least a dozen counties.

Strategic Allied Consulting was firedlast week by the Republican National Committee and the Florida partyafter county elections officials reported scores of suspicious forms.The state GOP also asked the Florida Division of Elections for aninvestigation.

"Afterreviewing this complaint, FDLE has decided that a criminalinvestigation into these allegations is warranted. This is now anactive investigation, which precludes us from providing furtherinformation until such time that the investigation is complete," theFDLE said in a statement, the Tampa Bay Times says.

Respondingto the announcement, Strategic Allied Consulting spokesman DavidLeibowitz. told the Tampa paper, "This company doesn't toleratecontractors who can't comply with their training or election law."

Spokesmen for the Republican and Democratic parties said they, too, welcomed the investigation.

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reportedthat the Virginia-based group, headed by Arizona conservative operativeNathan Sproul, knew about problems in Florida earlier than reported.

In2004, employees with his previous firms were accused of a wideassortment of infractions: destroying voter registration forms ofDemocrats, duping college students into registering as Republicans,refusing to register Democrats or independents. Nevada, Oregon andArizona opened investigations but closed them without charging anyone....

Sproul, 40, and his associates say Democratsare bound to criticize his work, which he claims has signed up 500,000voters since 2004. But Republicans aren't standing by him, either. Thestate Republican Party in Florida, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginiafired the firm Sept. 25, and the Republican Party of Florida filed anelection fraud complaint last week that is now part of a criminalinvestigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. ...

Companyrepresentatives have said they kept Florida Republicans informed oncethey were alerted of questionable registration forms in Palm BeachCounty and fired the employee responsible on Sept. 18. ...

Butthe director of voter registration said Tuesday that she noticed "someodd applications that came quite a bit earlier, on Aug. 28. It lookedlike someone had checked Republican for a number of party registrationboxes that didn't match the rest of the applications. Four of the formsappeared to have been filled out by the same person," the Times writes.

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