By Sheena Dooley Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s brother defended the ex-Obama campaign aide who fraudulently used his identity to frame the brothers for illegal or unethical behavior.
It was an odd turnaround for the man whose victim-impact statement, obtained by Iowa Politics, claimed Edwards’ theft “may limit my opportunities as I seek future employment because it is common practice for employers to check the online reputation and behavior of prospective employees.”
Thomas Schultz requested that the District 5C judge sentence Edwards to probation with community service and impose a fine, according to his statement. Edwards pleaded guilty in March to identity theft, a simple misdemeanor, and received 20 hours of community service, probation and a $65 fine. If he complies, it will be wiped from his record.
But now the younger Schultz says it’s time for the media to move on. “(Edwards) lost his job and credibility,” Schultz wrote in one of the messages to Iowa Politics. “He doesn’t need any more attention brought to it.”
It marked the first time either brother has spoken publicly about the matter since a judge last month unsealed Thomas Schultz’s victim impact statement. In it, he says Edwards, 29, of Des Moines, was behind a libelous blog post that prompted articles in The Salt Lake Tribune and Politico.com accusing the brothers of engaging in illegal or unethical behavior.
Edwards also sent an email saying Thomas Schultz received inappropriate payments from former GOP presidential nominee Rick Santorum, he said in the statement.
The flurry of messages came a day after Iowa Watchdog posted a story regarding the secretary of state’s unwillingness to provide access to all materials related to the case, including the email.
Thomas Schultz first tweeted on Wednesday morning, saying, “So, according to @SheenaDooley, all personal emails that have NOTHING to do with state business should be public? … #dumb.” He later deleted his only public tweet.
Thomas Schultz went on to say in direct messages with Iowa Watchdog that the public already knows the whole story and doesn’t need any more information. Asked what problems he had with releasing their contents, he said they were private emails that had nothing to do with state business.
“Do you want me to hand over every email Matt and I ever shared with people when we were campaigning? What’s the difference? I might as well just give you the passwords to all my accounts then, right? Or should Matt hand over every email he has ever exchanged with his wife? If it’s not state business, then why does it matter,” he wrote.
He ended the conversation when he was asked about the contents of the emails, saying it was a non-story.
“My victim impact statement was pretty clear about what happened. That’s all that needs to be said,” Thomas Schultz wrote.