Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz speaking in on March 25, 2011.

I heard this on WHO Radio tonight driving home, and then I saw this article in The Des Moines Register.

A Des Moines man has been arrested after police say he used, or tried to use, the identity of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz in a scheme to falsely implicate Schultz in perceived unethical behavior in office.

Zachary Edwards was arrested Friday and charged with identity theft.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety issued a news release saying Schultz’s office discovered the scheme on June 24, 2011 and notified authorities.

The criminal complaint says Edwards fraudulently used or attempted to use the identity of Schultz or Schultz’s brother with the intent to obtain a benefit. No other details were given.

So for political reasons Secretary Schultz and his brother Thomas were targeted… hmmmmm….  Where are we Chicago?  You don’t like what a person stands for so you’re going to try to ruin them personally?  I’d like to know who was this guy working for?  Since he was caught he’s obviously not very bright which means somebody else was likely the brain child behind this.

Just some background information on Edwards.  He works for LINK Strategies, his bio:

Zach Edwards got started in web-based research while based in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006 . After a stint as a part-time political blogger and local democratic volunteer, he joined the Obama campaign in early 2007 as an intern organizing North-West Las Vegas. In September 2007, Zach joined the Obama New Media department as co-director of the Nevada New Media team and then moved on to direct New Media operations in five other primary states (New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, and South Dakota).

During the 2008 General Election, Zach was the Iowa Director of New Media. In this capacity, he worked closely with communications, research and field operations to provide cutting-edge organizing tools and new media-based opposition research; which was emulated in battleground states across the country. After the election, Zach began working at Link Strategies as the Director of New Media, where he provides innovative web-based research tools, video analysis and production, and web-based communication tools to assist our clients.

Oh, that explains it…. he worked for Obama.  He can also add identity theft to his portfolio, ok maybe not since he doesn’t appear to be very good at it.  LINK Strategies is a Democratic lobbying , campaign consulting, opposition research and press shop.  It was founded by Jeff Link who has been around the block as a Democratic operative who was formerly U.S. Senator Tom Harkin‘s (D-IA/Bahamas) chief of staff.  Harkin is also a client of his.  Former U.S. Senator and Presidential Candidate John Edwards (D-Soon to Be In Prison) worked with him on his 2004 campaign.  They also ran a press shop for former Democratic Iowa Governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this story and will let you know more as it develops.

Update: Some more information….

Here’s a picture of the fine young lad.

Former Obama Staffer Zachary Edwards mug shot

Former Obama staffers take great mug shots don’t they?

Here is the Iowa Department of Public Safety press release on the matter.

Kevin Hall of The Iowa Republican reminded their readers of how Iowa Democrats have been targeting Schultz ever since he took office:

Since his surprise victory over incumbent Michael Mauro in November 2010, Secretary of State Schultz has been a target of the Iowa Democratic Party. Interestingly, on June 24, the same day as Zach Edwards alleged crime, Under the Golden Dome, a blog connected to Iowa Democrats, launched a three-part series of articles critical of Matt Schultz. They were based on documents obtained through an open records request from “a tipster.” The blog alleged that a batch of emails from Schultz’s office “raise some serious questions about his ability to remain independent and ensure election integrity”.

Just 15 days earlier, on June 9, the Iowa Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Schultz, claiming the Secretary of State of used public resources to campaign against presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board dismissed the complaint on July 19.

I guess if you can’t pin anything on him you really need to get creative don’t you?

2nd Update: Oh what?  Link Strategies removed Edwards from their website?  I don’t believe it.  It’s a good thing I took a screen shot last night as I was pretty sure they’d do that (click to see larger version.

3rd Update: Nice Memeorandum thread

4th Update: Edwards fired by Link Strategies… The Des Moines Register reports.

Jeff Link, president of Link Strategies, confirmed Saturday that Edwards no longer works for the company.

“I am greatly disturbed by the charge brought against Zach, and understand the pending legal action will run its course,” Link said.

He added that within hours “of learning of this situation, I met with Zach and notified him he was no longer employed with Link Strategies effective immediately. After gathering further information it is clear the incident involved in the allegation was related to a personal action taken by Zach and unrelated to his work with Link Strategies. “

Link also said his firm “holds itself to a high bar of ethics and professionalism, and this type of activity is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Ok, we’ll take Mr. Link at his word.  I still don’t think he was working alone, but I don’t have the foggiest idea with who (well I do, but I have zero proof and would like to avoid a libel lawsuit).  I do find it interesting that The Des Moines Register waited to report on this angle until after they could put a positive spin on it.

5th (and final) Update: Linked at Newsbusters.

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