Dirty tricks in Iowa involving former Obama 2008 staffer?

posted at 12:20 pm on January 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It’s difficult to know whether to tell this story in straight or reverse chronology, but either way, it raises eyebrows about the tactics that Iowa Democrats will deploy in 2012.  Let’s take this in reverse.  The story starts with an arrest yesterday in Des Moines of Zach Edwards, who works at Link Strategies as its Director of New Media, for identity theft targeting the Iowa Secretary of State, Republican Matt Schulz:

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.

Link Strategies is a well-connected consulting firm with a long relationship to Senator Tom Harkin.  In fact, Link Strategies has a testimonial on its website from Harkin, extolling their work and giving LS credit for his success.

So what was going on in June?  For that, we turn to Kevin Hall at The Iowa Republican, who tells the tale of a strange political attack aimed at Iowa’s Secretary of State at about the same time the alleged crime involving Edwards occurred:

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.

Interestingly, Link Strategies no longer has a mention of Edwards on its website, but Glenn Reynolds found it in the Wayback Machine, along with Edwards’ bio — which includes his work as a staffer on Obama’s primary and general-election campaigns in 2007-8:

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.

Maybe if Link Strategies had consulted Edwards after he posted bail, they would have realized that scrubbing the website wouldn’t do them any good.  As for “web-based communication tools,” the allegation seems to be that Edwards used those to conduct a dirty-tricks campaign against a state official while employed at Link Strategies and helping Democrats like Tom Harkin.  That could certainly be considered “innovative web-based research,” but it’s also likely to be considered illegal.  The questions will be (a) whether the state of Iowa can prove the alleged crimes, (b) whether Link Strategies participated in these alleged crimes, (c) what connections Edwards has to Democratic Party leadership — and (d) how many more Zach Edwards we can expect to find in Barack Obama’s campaign this time around.

Update: When I excerpted the arrest story, I inadvertently left off the explanation of who the victim was.  It’s explained later, but I added it to the opening paragraph.

Update II: John Hinderaker wonders who knew what and when:

That Edwards allegedly tried to steal the Secretary of State’s identity in order to frame Schultz for ‘unethical behavior in office’ is no coincidence. Iowa Democrats, as Kevin Hall of the Iowa Republican points out, have mounted a campaign of false accusations against Schultz. . . . So on its face, Edwards’s identity theft appears to be part of a coordinated effort by the Iowa Democratic Party to bring down the Republican Secretary of State so he can be replaced with a Democrat. We hope that Edwards will get the long jail term that he deserves, but the more important question is, from whom was he taking instructions?

I think we may end up finding out, if Edwards really does face a long jail term.  We’ll see.


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we are the party of tolerance, diversity, and no dirty deeds
-dems

cmsinaz on January 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

cmsinaz on January 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

And a monopoly on irony.

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Really? Then why is it 4 to 1 corn v. soybeans?

Kermit on January 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Well, if you people are too stupid to elect Democrats, they’ll just have to find another way to help you.

Marxism is for dummies on January 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Ever been to Iowa? I have. They have almost as many acres planted in soybeans as they do corn.

But I’m sure you would never use the “soybean pickers” insult, after all, soybeans are a Staple Food of the Democrat Left.

Pass the Tofu, Kid.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I should have used a sarc tag. I was quoting Jon Huntsman or did you forget what he said from New Hampshire during the Iowa caucus?

Jon Huntsman: Iowa picks corn – New Hampshire picks Presidents.

It looks like Huntsman was having some difficulty last summer in Iowa and the democrats were bring suits in his defense. Again I ask, why would the democrats care about a republican candidate running in the republican primary?

Now I wonder what Donald Trump knows about Huntsman we don’t. I thought Huntsman was just being his usual charming self/ and turned Trump off, now I am not so sure.

Dr Evil on January 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Really? Then why is it 4 to 1 corn v. soybeans?

Kermit on January 21, 2012 at 3:01 PM

I was simply reporting the number of acres planted in each.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Soros’ SOS operation still going strong I see.

Roy Rogers on January 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

He’s afraid of jail, all geeks like him are afraid of jail. One whiff that he might be facing time inside and he’ll squeal like a little girl at a Barbie beauty pageant

E9RET on January 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

This guy was just the advance man, collecting IDs for all the fraudulent voting the libs are planning for this November. Quick–better check the other 49 states and DC. I’m sure they’re everywhere.

stukinIL4now on January 21, 2012 at 3:56 PM

I am an innocent: I knew this kind of thing was an everyday occurence accross the border in Illinois as well as in Lousiana and in Texas when Lyndon was running. I thought Iowa was filled with nice honest farmers.

burt on January 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

You thought wrong. They are doing this all over the country.

Schultz and the GOP in Iowa campaigned on reforming election/voting law and the Dems can’t as easily put up a system like in Illinois to manufacture the votes.

The Dems are evil, but the Iowa GOP is not as well organized and are amateurs when it comes to internet/dbase/activist information systems and precinct politics.

KirknBurker on January 21, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Hell, they’re amateurs at finding the ballots that have been cast.

jb34461 on January 21, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Jeebus Crisp! It’s Roman politics all over again. Pretty soon they’ll be sticking each other with real daggers instead of metaphorical ones.

RebeccaH on January 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

If this was the Republican party, it would be front page news for WEEKS.

JustTruth101 on January 21, 2012 at 6:12 PM

That just broke the “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” barrier. EFF IT It’s time to impeach the Chief Thug!

denniscb on January 21, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Attaaaaaaaaaaaaack Waaaaaaaaaaaaatch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Sewer rats everywhere.

NukeRidingCowboy on January 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Schultz is perhaps the loudest voice in Iowa for requiring photo ID’s for voters. That makes him a big obstacle to voter fraud in Iowa. Also, Christy Vilsack, wife of former Iowa Gov. and current USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack, has moved in to Steve King’s district in order to run against him. With those connections and lax voter fraud protections, King could be in a lot of danger.

nkviking75 on January 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Dems = sore losers. If you can’t beat the GOP at the voting booth then take whatever measures necessary to get your way regardless of the vote of the people.

HoosierStateofMind on January 21, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Schultz is perhaps the loudest voice in Iowa for requiring photo ID’s for voters. That makes him a big obstacle to voter fraud in Iowa. Also, Christy Vilsack, wife of former Iowa Gov. and current USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack, has moved in to Steve King’s district in order to run against him. With those connections and lax voter fraud protections, King could be in a lot of danger.

nkviking75 on January 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

The guy Schultz replaced (Mauro) said during his campaign that he had “no problem” with Photo IDs for voting, on the condition that they be provided free of charge. But that rang hollow.

BTW Tom Vilsack was as I recall Iowa’s Secretary of State before he became Governor.

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Jeebus Crisp! It’s Roman politics all over again. Pretty soon they’ll be sticking each other with real daggers instead of metaphorical ones.

RebeccaH on January 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

No, Rebecca, it’s 1859 and Bleeding Kansas.

SDN on January 21, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Has the Iowa Democratic Party issued a formal/written apology yet? Have they asked for an independent audit/review to assure the public no one else was involved?

Will Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, the Democrat party chairperson issue a stern rebuke??

TN Mom on January 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Watergate II

John at Powerline calls this a crime–not a “dirty trick”–and I agree. And there are many links to leftist operatives and politicians to be investigated.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/01/not-just-a-democrat-dirty-trick-but-a-crime.php

You might want to forward this to Drudge as a news tip, as I have.

Allendundit on January 21, 2012 at 11:48 PM

I created that problem in how I excerpted the first story. I’ve updated the first paragraph to make that a lot more clear.

Ed Morrissey on January 21, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Thank you for the change Ed. I think I was frustrated with your original post only because 99% of the time your posts strike me with their overall clarity.

I think I might be spoiled by your long streak of great writing.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 22, 2012 at 1:22 AM

I am disappointed this thread did not get more attention.
This is what goes on in the background all the time lately-and is stealing our real system from us.
Meanwhile you get 2 and more thousand comments about candidates that basically would be good for this country, but you would think are on opposite sides.

KOOLAID2 on January 22, 2012 at 1:51 AM

Forget the jail term. He deserves a prison term.

Moonzoo on January 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM

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”.

That’s a laugh

Sonosam on January 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Thank goodness for our SOS Kris Kobach in Kansas. He got voter id laws passed, but for after the 2012 election. He is working this session on getting it implemented sooner.

cptacek on January 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM

ruining someone based on idioceology is frightening.

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2012 at 1:19 PM

cableguy615 on January 22, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Comment pages: 1 2