The lawsuit against Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and four other members of the Branstad administration will be filed in federal court Wednesday.
It alleges Chris Godfrey, the Worker’s Compensation Commissioner was denied his constitutional rights because of partisan politics and his sexual orientation.
“If he had a legitimate reason for excusing me he would have said what those reasons were for treating me differently,” says Godfrey.
Branstad asked Godfrey to resign in 2011. When Godfrey refused, the Governor cut his salary by nearly $40,000.
This is what Branstad said at the time: “I don’t have the authority to fire him, but I do have the authority to set the salary. So, I made the change.”
At the time, the Governor’s spokesperson said the pay cut was because Godfrey was driving up the cost of doing business in the Iowa.
“Governor Branstad heard from small businesses and other business owners that Mr. Godfrey’s performance was leading to higher insurance premiums in Iowa.”
Godfrey denies that, “There are studies which show from 2006 to 2010 the actual cost for worker’s compensation in Iowa went down. That’s important because I came into office in 2006 and in 2010 my salary was reduced.”
Godfrey also says he’s experienced ongoing retaliation since filing his original lawsuit in state court. In a line item veto, the Governor eliminated a position in Godfrey’s office and took away more than $160,000 in carry-over funds.
“This has been a very vindictive, retaliatory governor,” says Godfrey.
The Governor’s attorney, George LaMarca disagrees, “This federal lawsuit is nothing more than an extreme makeover of the ongoing state lawsuit. A number of other claims based on these same facts have already been dismissed in the state court action.”