A former Congressional intern has been charged with eight felony and five misdemeanor counts after he was arrested Thursday for allegedly placing completed voter registration forms into a trash container in Virginia.
Colin Small, a 23-year-old Phoenixville, Pa., native, was an unpaid intern in Rep. Mike Kelly’s (R) Washington, D.C., office from September 2011 to December 2011.
“Congressman Kelly has not seen Colin since he left our office last December,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker’s spokeswoman, Julia Thornton, said in an email.
“Colin fulfilled standard intern responsibilities, including answering phones, handling mail, greeting visitors, and providing research for staff on an as-needed basis,” she continued. “His internship ended in December when the semester was over. He left on good terms and in good standing.”
The suspect’s LinkedIn page boasts that as an intern, he researched bills and policies, including preparing research that helped Kelly decide to support the U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement last year.
He also notes that he attended staff briefings, wrote constituent letters and answered phones, emails and faxes.
Small was arrested after a witness saw him throwing eight voter registration forms into a trash container behind a shopping center where he works, Talking Points Memo first reported. Police investigated the incident, and Small has been charged with eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications, four counts of destruction of voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.
At the time of his arrest, Small worked for Pinpoint, a company hired by the Virginia Republican Party to register voters.
His LinkedIn page notes that he is a “grassroots field director” for the Republican National Committee and that he, “Manage[s] a team of 15-20 grassroots canvassers, conducting voter registration drives, staffing political rallies, organizing Get Out the Vote Efforts.”
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer, however, told NBC News that Small was never directly employed by the RNC.
The explanation is not appeasing Democrats, however. Three Democratic ranking members sent a letter to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus today asking him to explain the group’s association with companies allegedly engaging in voter fraud.
House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers (Mich.), House Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.) and House Administration Subcommittee on Elections ranking member Charlie Gonzalez (Texas) particularly want to know about the RNC’s association with Nathan Sproul, a GOP political operative linked to a voter fraud scandal in Florida. Sproul owns Strategic Allied Consulting, which hired Pinpoint. Several of his companies are under investigation in Florida.
“The American people have a right to know whether the RNC intentionally hired, or knew its contractors or subsidiaries had hired, companies and contractors with records tainted by allegations of past voter-registration fraud and then directed them to conceal those records,” the Democrats wrote.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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