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Iowa senator asking US Senate’s help to resolve alleged misuse of funds by Iowa Sec. of State


This news story was published on January 8, 2014.
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Sen. Tom Courtney (D) speaks at the Grand Opening of the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on October 30, 2013, joined by Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Sen. Tom Courtney (D) speaks at the Grand Opening of the new Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison on October 30, 2013, joined by Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.

DES MOINES – A member of the Iowa Senate is asking a committee of the U.S.  Senate to help resolve questions about the alleged misuse of federal funds by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

A letter from State Senator Tom Courtney of Burlington asks the leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Regulations to confirm new Commissioners to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.  All four posts on the Commission are currently vacant.   Because it lacks a quorum, the Commission has been unable to respond to this April 19, 2013, question posed by its own Inspector General:

“Are the services being provided by the Iowa Department of Public Safety to the Iowa Secretary of State allowable charges to HAVA funds provided to the State of Iowa by the Election Assistance Commission?”

“Iowa Secretary of State Schultz is setting a terrible example by misusing federal dollars intended to help voters vote,” said Courtney.

Last month, the office of Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman released the results of a six-month investigation of the possible misuse of almost $300,000 in federal Help America Vote Act funds by Secretary Schultz.  The federal dollars, intended for “educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights and voting technology” were used instead for nearly fruitless criminal investigations.

The report by Iowa’s State Auditor concluded that Secretary Schultz should be prepared to repay the federal dollars in the event that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission finds against him.

In his January 8th letter to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Pat Roberts of Kansas, Courtney wrote:

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz

“Without action by your Committee, Iowa Secretary of State Schultz is free to thumb his nose at taxpayers and the currently toothless federal watchdog – the U.S. Election Assistance Committee – because he knows there are virtually no limitations on how he spends the funds.  In fact, the Secretary of State has already indicated that he has no plans to develop the repayment plan recommended by the State Auditor.”

Courtney’s letter also stated that an independent investigation would quickly reveal that:

·       Neither the State of Iowa’s ‘Help America Vote Act State Plan’ adopted on July 17, 2003, nor amendments submitted on June 9, 2005, and September 10, 2008, includes the use of HAVA funds to pay the salary and operational costs of a criminal investigator to search for voter fraud.

·       There is no evidence that the Secretary of State has requested through the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to amend Iowa’s state plan to use the HAVA funds to pay the salary and operational costs of a criminal investigator.

·       Hiring a criminal investigator does not fall under prescribed uses of HAVA funds (Section 101 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 states that funds may be used for ‘educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights and voting technology.

In addition to the misuse of Help America Vote Act dollars, Secretary of State Schultz’s office is also being sued in federal court over the charge that his investigations intimidate eligible voters, especially those who have recently become U.S. citizens, from registering to vote or going to the polls.

·       January 8 letter from Senator Courtney seeking help from the US Senate on misuse of voting funds by Secretary Schultz

·       The December 18, 2013, report from the State Auditor to the Secretary of State

·       The April 19, 2013, letter from the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission

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8 Responses to Iowa senator asking US Senate’s help to resolve alleged misuse of funds by Iowa Sec. of State

  1. Allen

    Allen Reply Report comment

    January 9, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Some of that money should have been spent here because the, Help America Vote Act, hasn’t been working in Mason City.

  2. Avatar

    Joe Dirt Reply Report comment

    January 9, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Every year the facts are brought forward on government waste in spending yet neither side ever takes steps to put a stop to these programs. I would think the Obama care web site whose costs have exploded to a projected one billion dollars when top private sector web designers say it is a five to ten million dollar project should top the list. As for the vacations I wish Obama would go on one for the rest of his term and let someone with some business sense take over. That would be money well spent.

  3. Avatar

    Annie Reply Report comment

    January 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    How about the misuse of funds when Obama spent $100 million for his Kenya trip and now the recent cost of the Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Now Obama is giving his wife a Birthday present so she gets to stay behind in Hawaii at a hugh cost to the taxpayers again. Oh the poor tax payers. We give the government tax $$$ and they just toss it to the winds. I think anyone that wants to vote ought to prove they are eligible just like when you cash a check.

    • Avatar

      Iowa Sucks Reply Report comment

      January 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      100 million…lol.

      OK, turn off FOX news, Rush Limbaugh and shut off your computer and take a step back from your keyboard.

      • Avatar

        Annie Reply Report comment

        January 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

        What’s the matter, didn’t you read about this 100 million dollar trip in the news for months now? Just because he wanted to go back to the ol stomping grounds, we got stuck with the Bill. You don’t care, well I care. That one hundred million could have gone a long ways in helping needy Americans. You must not pay taxes, well I do. Hawaii is waiting for the day when Mrs. Obama gets out of there so their life can go back to normal.

        • Avatar

          bagodad Reply Report comment

          January 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          Annie, no, I didn’t read about any $100 million trip to Kenya because he didn’t go to Kenya. President Obama traveled to South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania. So, your claim to have read about a $100 million trip to Kenya is questionable. Relax and get your facts straight. You’re getting crazy for nothing!

        • Avatar

          BCN Reply Report comment

          January 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

          @bagodad- well said.

          @ Annie
          Had your comments been just about the high cost of Presidential trips,I would agree.
          However, that is not the road you chose to travel down.

          You do realize Annie, that George and Laura Bush loved to go to Africa on the taxpayers’ dime…a lot.
          During Bush’s second term alone, Laura Bush made five trips to Africa. President Bush made the trip twice during his presidency.

          Wow, that’s a lot of trips to Africa.

          In 2007, Laura Bush also took her daughters with her, and they went on a safari.
          You know, the same kind of outing that President Obama canceled because of the cost.
          Here’s the difference between Bush’s trips and Obama’s: Obama canceled the cost-intensive safari.

    • Avatar

      bagodad Reply Report comment

      January 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Reaching out to other countries is part of the President’s job. He is also allowed vacation time along with his salary. Some presidents take more time off than others (George W. Bush). It shouldn’t matter to you that he vacations at his home in Hawaii or gives his wife a present. It should matter to all of us in Iowa that the state’s Secretary of State throws federal money away in search of a wild goose.