Chief Deputy State Auditor Warren Jenkins will investigate Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz's use of Help America Vote Act funding, William Petroski reported today for the Des Moines Register. Democratic State Senator Tom Courtney requested the audit immediately after Governor Terry Branstad appointed Mary Mosiman as state auditor last month. Mosiman's predecessor, David Vaudt, did not act on Courtney's request for an audit last year. Schultz has used federal HAVA funding to pay for a law enforcement officer charged with investigating alleged voter fraud full-time. Courtney contends that such a use falls outside federal law, which calls for HAVA funds to cover "educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights and voting technology."
Mosiman delegated the audit to Jenkins because until last month, she was working as Schultz's deputy in charge of the Secretary of State's elections office.
Please share any relevant comments in this thread. After the jump I've posted reaction from Schultz and Democratic candidate for secretary of state Brad Anderson.
Statement from Secretary of State Schultz:
"The proper and fair administration of elections in the State of Iowa is my responsibility as the chief elections official. Iowans deserve clean and honest elections. We continue to believe that the investigation expenditures are an appropriate use of HAVA funds, under Title 1, as they are being used to improve the administration of federal elections."
Petroski reported that Schultz's legal counsel Charlie Smithson "defended the use of federal grant money for the investigation in a Dec. 26 response to federal officials, saying that punishing acts of election misconduct should qualify as an expense because it will improve the administration of elections."
Statement from Brad Anderson, Democratic candidate for secretary of state:
Matt Schultz is finally getting audited for possible misuse of federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds. It is nice to see someone is going to review whether or not spending $280,000 on a partisan investigation that has led to zero convictions of anyone knowingly committing voter fraud is a good use of taxpayer dollars.
To be candid, I believe Secretary Schultz's investigation is a complete waste of taxpayer money and he should be held accountable. Common sense tells us that "Help America Vote" money should be used to actually help Americans vote, not wasted on partisan criminal investigations.
My hope is that Auditor Mary Mosiman's staff will leave partisanship at the door and thoroughly investigate Matt Schultz's clearly inappropriate use of HAVA funds.