An independent investigation, released Wednesday, says Gov. Terry Branstad had nothing to do with the firing of a DCI agent who reported seeing the governor's SUV speeding in April.
Gov. Branstad asked former Iowa Supreme Court chief justice Lou Lavorato in July to look into the matter.
The DCI had launched a personnel investigation into Larry Hedlund, days after he filed a complaint about Branstad`s vehicle speeding on a north-central Iowa highway.
Questions were raised about whether Hedlund’s firing in July was linked to his reporting on April 26 that a state trooper driving the governor and lieutenant governor was driving far in excess of the speed limit.
"The claims of retaliation are false. They have no merit. We knew that all along. They are simply ridiculous allegations," says Tim Albrecht, the Governor's spokesperson
Lavorato concluded that he found no direct evidence that the investigation and the decision to terminate Hedlund's employment were in retaliation for reporting the speeding violation.
"This report really puts it behind us and shows that the Governor's office and the Governor himself had no involvement in the investigation and there was absolutely zero retaliation as a result of the speeding incident," says Albrecht.
Hedlund's lawyer, Tom Duff, responded to the release of the review with a statement. In part it reads, "The governor’s investigation into his own conduct was nothing more than a political stunt to subvert the legal process and exonerate himself without facing a judge, jury or the due process of law."
"That the Governor’s office was not directly involved is frankly kind of old news. I mean, Larry Hedlund and I have repeatedly stated that at this point, we do not have any evidence that the Governor's office was involved in the termination," says Duff.
Duff says the wrongful termination lawsuit is continuing and "ultimately a jury will [decide] whether Hedlund was wrongfully terminated."
"Justice Lavorato's report does not deter us in any way from pursing this case," says Duff.
A court date for Hedlund's civil suit has not been set.
You can read Lavorato's entire review here.
You can read Duff's statement here.