The State Auditor’s Office has released its review of the use of funds from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) by Secretary of State Matt Schultz to pay for a DCI agent to investigate possible illegal voting. Deputy State Auditor, Warren Jenkins, says they did not find the use of the money was proper, nor did they find it was improper. “We look thoroughly into the law, into supporting regulations, there are a whole list of proper and improper uses — unfortunately the uses by the Secretary of State’s office are not listed,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins says the Auditor’s Office doesn’t have enough information to rule on the use of the funds. “Any final decision on the allowability on the use of those funds rests with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which does not have sufficient membership to make a decision,” according to Jenkins.
The only recommendation the Auditor’s Office has for the Secretary of State is to put together a plan in case the commission finds the money was not properly used. “We’re simply advising the Secretary of State’s Office to have a plan in place so that you’re not scrambling after the fact to come up with an alternative,” Jenkins says.
Democrats in the legislature have been critical of the Republican Secretary of State’s effort. State Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, issued a statement saying “the review by the State Auditor concludes HAVA does not specifically allow the Secretary of State to hire a law enforcement officer to conduct criminal investigations of Iowans.”
The statement from Courtney went on to say: “The State Auditor’s six-month review provides more evidence that Iowa taxpayers are right to be troubled by Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s use of their money. Based on these new findings, I call on the Secretary of State to shut down his witch hunt and instead focus on his official duties: educating eligible Iowans on voting procedures and voting rights.”
The State Auditor’s report said Schultz had spent just over $100,000 in HAVA funds for the investigations since June 30th of this year. Schultz has a contract to spend up to $140,000 a year for two years.
Secretary of State Schultz issue this statement:
“The State Auditor’s report shows the EAC should decide whether HAVA fund expenditures to investigate voter fraud are proper. The EAC’s Office of Inspector General has already declined Sen. Courtney’s request to audit these HAVA expenditures,” Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz said. “As I’ve said all along, the use of HAVA funds for a DCI investigator to investigate voter fraud in Iowa has been proper. The investigation has helped the administration of federal elections in Iowa by helping ensure the integrity of votes cast by Iowans.”