April 24, 2014

Secretary of State responds to call for audit of federal funds used in illegal voter investigations

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a Republican, says he is disappointed Democrat State Senator Tom Courtney has called for a federal and state audit of federal funds used to pay a state DCI agent to investigate possible voter fraud. In response to Courtney’s request, Schultz told Radio Iowa it boils down to one thing.

“Political grandstanding by Senator Courtney. You know, here is a situation where we’re trying to do what is right. We’re trying to make sure that we have honest and fair elections,” according to Schultz. “And instead of trying to help us, Senator Courtney is trying to stop the investigations. What Senator Courtney should be doing is saying ‘I support he has the funding to ensure we have fair and honest elections, and I will do whatever I can to ensure we have honest and fair elections’, but that is not what the senator is saying.”

Schultz says he is confident any audit of the use of the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA funds, will confirm he is right. “At this point I trust my election staff that’s made up of election law lawyers. And I can tell you, Senator Courtney only focused on one part of the law and did not bring the entire law into the case here. My staff tells me we have the ability to do it, and I am trusting my staff,” Schultz says.

The DCI charged three people with voter fraud in Pottawattamie County in September based on information from the Secretary of State’s office. Schultz says he could use more help in finding voter fraud.

“Senator Courtney instead of trying to be critical should be helpful and say ‘well we should get the Secretary of State more resources if he needs it to make sure we have fair and honest elections’,” Schultz says. “I mean investigations are going on around the state not just on non-citizens, but on double voting, on felons voting, on absentee voter fraud. Quite frankly we could use 10 agents now. So maybe Senator Courtney should think about that the next time he tries to be critical.”

Courtney said he also has a concern because Scott County has requested information from Schultz and the Secretary of State has refused to give it to them. Schultz says he is just following the law. “We cannot turn that information over right now. Because we don’t have access to the federal saved database, we don’t have accurate information to give to the county auditor and we need to make sure we have uniform procedures in place,” Schultz explains.

“Now the DCI is working with their county attorney and that will continue to go on. And that’s is a law enforcement prerogative between the DCI and the county attorney.” Courtney said he wants Schultz to “end all aspects of his voter purge campaign” and questioned why Schultz didn’t start the process two years ago.

“I don’t know what he is talking about,” Schultz responded, “I wasn’t even Secretary of State two years ago. Here is a situation where I am trying to do my job. We had a DCI agent assigned to us August 6th, that was the first time. And quite frankly on the other aspect that he’s talking about (purging the voter rolls), I don’t even know where he is coming from. Because he knows as well as I do, that a Polk County Judge, Judge Gunderson, has said that we cannot remove any names or do anything before the election from an administrative standpoint. Which just goes back to the point that he’s just using this for grandstanding.”

The judge said Schultz could not move ahead to check a list of possible illegal voters based on D.O.T. records with the federal immigration list until a lawsuit against the practice is decided.