Today, Friday, January 20, 2012, Zachary Edwards, age 29, from Des Moines, Iowa, was arrested and criminally charged with Identity Theft, an Aggravated Misdemeanor (Iowa Code 715A.8(2)). Edwards turned himself in to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agents this afternoon at the Polk County Jail. He was then booked into the jail with a set bail of $2,000, cash or surety.
According to the Criminal Complaint, on June 24, 2011, Edwards fraudulently used, or attempted to use, the identity of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz and/or Secretary Schultz’s brother, Thomas Schultz, with the intent to obtain a benefit, in an alleged scheme to falsely implicate Secretary Schultz in perceived illegal or unethical behavior while in office.
If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison, and a maximum fine of $6,250. A criminal allegation is merely an accusation and any suspect is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office discovered the alleged scheme on June 24, 2011 and subsequently reported the information to authorities. DCI continues to investigate the incident, and the case is being prosecuted by the Polk County Attorney’s Office.According to the Iowa Republican blog, Edwards joined the Obama campaign early in 2007 as an intern working in Nevada. He eventually joined the campaign's New Media department and directed the campaign's activities in five other primary states. He served as Obama's Iowa Director of New Media during the 2008 general election campaign. Following the 2008 campaign, Edwards joined Link Strategies, which provides campaign consulting advice to Democratic candidates including Sen. Tom Harkin (D).
The Iowa Republican reports on Democratic efforts to impugn Secretary of State Matt Schultz since his upset win in the 2010 election. A Democratic blog in Iowa launched a three-part investigative series based on documents it obtained through a public records request questioning Schultz "ability to remain independent and ensure election integrity." Within days of the Democratic Party filing an ethics complaint against Schultz in June, Edwards' alleged identity theft scheme against Schultz was launched. The ethics complaint against Schultz was later dismissed.
A copy of the criminal complaint against Edwards can be viewed here.