Secretary of State Matt Schultz and a key state lawmaker are at odds over the use of federal money to investigate alleged voter fraud in Iowa. Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington, chairman of the Iowa Senate’s Government Oversight Committee, sent formal letters on the matter Tuesday to State Auditor David Vaudt and a federal inspector general for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Courtney asked the officials for audits of Schultz’s use of federal funds from the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, to hire a state Division of Criminal Investigation agent to investigate alleged voter fraud. Courtney said the federal money is supposed to be used to help educate voters about procedures, voting rights and voting technology. Hiring a law enforcement officer isn’t an allowable expense, he said.
Schultz, a Republican, said it’s clear Courtney’s motives are political, and he accused the lawmaker of grandstanding. He said the use of the federal money was carefully studied by lawyers in his office who approved it. He added the DCI hasn’t sent a bill yet for the probe. “Sen. Courtney is saying he agrees that non-citizens shouldn’t vote, yet his actions speaker louder than his words,” Schultz said. “Everything he is doing is trying to stop these investigations.” Federal Inspector General Curtis Crider confirmed Tuesday that he received Courtney’s request, but he declined to comment further. Vaudt said he will consult with the federal inspector general before proceeding to ensure they are not duplicating efforts.