UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS: Director ‘Screws Iowans Out Of Benefits’

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A Senate democrat says a state director who is supposed to help the unemployed is instead, hurting them.

Some lawmakers say it’s a scandal within the state government. Now democrats are urging an investigation.

Democratic Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo is making some big allegations against Iowa Workforce Development director Teresa Wahlert.

Dotzler say Wahlert pressured state employees who judge unemployment compensation disputes to tip cases in favor of businesses.

Fellow democrat, Mike Gronstal, says he “cannot condemn in more firm words the actions of the director to instruct administrative law judges to screw Iowans out of their benefits.”

Senator Dozler first raised concerns about the director on Wednesday. He is asking the US Department of Labor to investigate the matter because the administrative law judges are federally funded positions.

Dotzler says he has spoken to several judges who Wahler says helped prepare businesses to win their unemployment cases.

House Speaker Craig Paulsen and Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix separately described the allegations as “Washington D.C. style politics” and questioned the timing as gubernatorial campaigning gets underway.

Sen. Dix added, “We have a legislative oversight committee. It’s in the code of Iowa and it is charged with the responsibility of looking into matters such as this.”

A Branstad/Reynolds campaign staffer said in a release that the allegations are “baseless, sophomoric and political.”

No date has been set for a legislative oversight committee hearing on the matter.

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