Officials at the American embassy in China are investigating a scheme involving U.S. Ambassador and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Governor Terry Branstad delivers the Condition of the State address at the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
Tom Conley, president and chief executive officer of The Conley Group, said he is one of many people who received a message on his LinkedIn account that, at first glance, appeared to be from Branstad.
The message reads, in part, "I need a favor. Christine (Branstad's wife) has been was diagnosed of Cancer. ... I have a need to pay the clinic $65,000. I cannot pay from my account here because the staff of the clinic can recognize my diplomatic status and leak it to the media."
The couple's son, Eric Branstad, told KCCI in a statement that, "It's completely false and quite hurtful they would make something up like this about my mother."
Conley, a security expert, said he believes the hackers’ timing is suspicious because it was sent over a weekend right before the midterm elections when government officials are busy.