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Iowa Watchdog

State will investigate top election official’s spending


DES MOINES – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s inspector general has denied an Iowa lawmaker’s request to investigate spending of federal dollars by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, according to a letter recently sent to the Iowa State Auditor’s office.

Iowa auditors will investigate spending by Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Iowa auditors will investigate spending by Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

State auditors, however, will look into whether Schultz improperly paid an investigator with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations with $280,000 in federal dollars meant to educate Iowans about voting procedures, rights and technology, Warren Jenkins, Iowa deputy auditor, told Iowa Watchdog Friday morning.

Schultz, a Republican, hired the investigator almost a year ago to track down voter fraud in the state.

Curtis Crider, inspector general for the election commission, didn’t offer an explanation in his May 20 letter to Jenkins as to why the commission has decided not to pursue the matter.

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Democratic State Sen. Tom Courtney, of Burlington, requested the a federal and state investigation in October several months after Schultz’s actions were made public.

If state auditors find the money was improperly used, they will forward the matter to Crider and the commission, which is charged with determining what, if any, action to take against Schultz. The state has no say because it involves federal dollars, Jenkins said.

Jenkins didn’t offer a timeline for the investigation.

Courtney could not immediately be reached for comment, but has told Iowa Watchdog in previous interviews that he was frustrated by the drawn out process and lack of answers.

Contact Sheena Dooley at Sheena Dooley is the Iowa bureau chief for, where this story first appeared.

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