Lost in the endless coverage of the weekend’s South Carolina primary, is the significant and revealing story of 29 year old Zach Edwards.
Until recently, Edwards was employed by Link Strategies, a Democrat campaign consulting firm credited by Senator Tom Harkin for his success, as the Director of New Media. Employed, that is, until his arrest for identity theft!
Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has been under fire since his win over Democrat Michael Mauro in 2010. The Iowa Democratic Party launched a series of attacks on Schultz beginning in June through false claims, blog sites and this scheme involving a former Obama campaign staffer.
According to the Des Moines Register, “Edwards was arrested on charges alleging he fraudulently used or attempted to use the identity of Schultz, a Republican, or Schultz’s brother, Thomas, with the intent to obtain benefit.”
Edwards allegedly attempted to smear Schultz’s name by participating in unethical behavior while using Schultz’s identity.
The Iowa Republican reports that Edwards’ identity theft/reputation smear was part of a larger plan orchestrated by Democrats to bring down the newly elected Republican Secretary of State.
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.”
Link Strategies president Jeff Link shared a statement with news media. “… I met with Zach and notified him he was no longer employed… [I]t 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.”
Secretary of State Schultz’s office became aware of Edwards’ attempts in June and alerted authorities. If convicted, Edwards could spend up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250.