EXCLUSIVE: Others Used Secret Settlements Too

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad claimed his wasn’t the only administration that used confidential agreements with dismissed state workers.

“This was done in previous administrations,” the governor asserted, repeating a charge Monday that he made the week before.

Newly released documents from the Department of Administrative Services back that claim up. D.A.S. provided the documents following a Channel 13 request.

They show eight different settlements that included confidentiality clauses during the administration of Branstad’s predecessors Governor Chet Culver and Lt. Governor Patty Judge.

The documents disclose agreements with dismissed state workers from seven different agencies. One included a payment of $50,000. Another included a payment of $11,877. Others provide terms of payments that do not include a dollar amount.

The documents contradict what former Lt. Governor Judge said on Channel 13’s “The Insiders” Sunday. Judge had sharply criticized Branstad for saying he didn’t know top state department officials had used confidential agreements. “This to me is just beyond the pale. I don’t understand why Governor Branstad would do this,” Judge said.

In response to whether her administration had also used similar agreements, Judge had said, “I think I would have known it. And in my mind there has been and believe me I’ve thought about this all week, I don’t think that ever happened.”

Watch Judge’s comments in the first segment of Channel 13’s “The Insiders” Sunday, along with her response to a challenge Republican strategist Dave Kochel gave her.

Senate Democrats have criticized Branstad for allowing the use of the confidential agreements with two dozen workers that gave payments totaling nearly $500,000. They begin oversight hearings Wednesday morning to look into them.

Branstad’s Democratic gubernatorial challenger, Des Moines State Senator Jack Hatch, has been especially critical. Last Monday, Hatch said, “If he did not know about the direction of his agency creating confidentiality agreements, then you begin to wonder who’s in charge.”

When asked whether Hatch would have similar outrage if he learned past Democratic administrations had also used the confidential agreements, as Branstad claimed, Hatch responded, “This is another example of the governor trying to shift the blame to somebody else.”

Branstad has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the settlements during his administration. But he hasn’t been able to see how top officials of a dozen departments, agencies and commission would use the agreements and never tell him about it.

Monday, the governor denied a “mastermind” was behind the payments.

The governor issued an executive order that bans the practice of similar confidential agreements in the future.

Click to read the confidentiality agreements dismissed state workers received during Governor Chet Culver’s administration.

Click to view a summary of the total number of settlements for the last 8 fiscal years.

26 comments

  • Matt

    Don’t excuse the current use but find it humorous Mr Hatch avoids answering the question on previous administrations use…can’t be bothered by the facts..

    • Mary

      Yes we must not excuse the current use, this investigation needs to go back to the Governor’s past EIGHT years. There’s so much corruption to be revealed. Stayed tuned…

    • Paul Jackson

      According to the link in the Article Culver had over 600 settlements and Branstad had over 300. However, Branstad had much more confidential settlements. This isn’t Branstad saying this, it is Channel 13. I don’t see this as an excuse by Branstad if it is factual.

  • Paul Jackson

    Because asked Hatch about other administrations also using confidential agreements he said that this was not true and is just the current administration trying to deflect the criticism.

    When it was brought to his attention that there were records of confidential agreements he refused to comment further.

    It’s too bad we don’t have a third choice for Governor.

    • Tammy Hardersen

      You do. Check out the lady Libertarian. I forgot her name, but she was on Jan Mickelsen’s show a while back. Check his Facebook page. She was awesome. A breath of fresh air.

  • William Denison

    one has to wonder how much hush money Terry Branstad paid to the victims family of the people his son killed

  • John Anderson

    Why can’t Branstad finish a sentence or verify that he’s done anything. “The buck stops” is a malapropism if he means the dollars stop with him, it’s a sad sign of degeneration if he can’t recall the word “here”. He claims he “took action on all of these settlements” but I haven’t heard that he fired anyone or decreased their pay by the amounts of the settlements they approved. His lips are moving and gas is coming out but you can find more substance in the emmissions of any head of livestock in the state than you can from the guy claiming to be the head of the state. Usually being “in charge” means “in control” not “in cahoots” and because they are still in charge you are “cahooting” with your department heads.

    Cmon Terry, use your words and actions to show that you mean what you imply instead of implying what you mean with stammering and gesticulations. Chop some heads or get the money back that was in the budget to serve Iowans other than those running the departments… MAKE THE DEPARTMENT HEADS GIVE THE MONEY BACK AND DON’T GIVE THEM BONUSES FOR DOING IT!

  • Coffee Pot

    guess everybody forgot when culver and judge were in there, cietec employee’s paid themselves 1.2 million for three of them.
    just when you thought that nightmare was over, they go and put up a picture of Culver. Whew

  • John Anderson

    no fan of any politician these days but Cietec was a fabrication of the city’s with Archie, lets disconnect the police radios during the flood of 93, Crook and the rest of the Des Moines integrity rangers backing him up. Branstad is in a class by himself when it comes to story telling, finger pointing and tattling. If we dig through all the ‘secret’ payouts back to the 70s, you’re going to find Branstads stamp of approval on a lot more than 24.

  • POCW

    I would like to see what the secret the Governors wanted kept quiet? By the way, look at county government to see more of the same. So much corruption.

  • John Anderson

    Hey Terry- choke on your own words…

    Terry Branstad failed in 1984 to fire two officials in what was then the Beer and Liquor Control Department. Those two officials were accused of having an affair and making questionable spending decisions. Branstad says he didn’t have the authority to fire those workers, as the hiring and firing back then was the responsibility of the commission that oversaw the agency, not the governor. “I mean, obviously they don’t know a lot about history and what could be done at that time, so I really wasn’t in the position that I could directly control that agency or, frankly, many of the other agencies of state government,” Branstad says. “But we corrected that with reorganization in 1986.” Culver’s campaign says Branstad is a “hypocrite” by saying Culver should have fired the administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division when Branstad failed to take decisive action 26 years ago when a similar situation cropped up in the same agency. Branstad counters that Culver has failed to properly manage more than just that one division, as even more problems in the Iowa Film Office mean state taxpayers may be “on the hook” for tens of millions of dollars. “I just think Iowans want to restore hands-on management,” Branstad says. “And they want to have honest, open, clean government.”

    • Sue

      Man, you have a long memory recanting something that apparently happened in 1984. That was 30 years ago John.

      I sure wouldn’t want to get you mad at me.

      You need to give up liberalism and embrace the conservative movement son.

  • Todd Versteegh

    Its pretty sad to see those on this board sucking up the Des Moines Register’s agenda.

    Here’s reality folks–these aren’t “secret settlements”. They’re severance agreements. These are common place in both the public AND private sector.

    Sometimes, as a part of these severance agreements–a confidentiality agreement is made part of the agreement. Sometimes its because the employer requests it..sometimes the employee requests it.

    The Register and other media sources in Iowa want you to believe that this is some major “scandal”–and this is going to lead to Branstad’s defeat in November.

    First..this isn’t even CLOSE to a scandal. What this is–is the Des Moines Register blowing a normal employment practice CLEAR out of proportion.

    Second..all this time..the Register has FAILED to mention..that AFSCME–that’s right–the state employee’s union–helped to NEGOTIATE these settlements.

    Jack Hatch is an idiot for criticizing these settlements–that one of his biggest political backers–helped negotiate for!!

  • William Denison

    I suck up to no one. I don’t buy into the whole good cop / bad cop thing. If your a horses backside your a horses backside.Theres no changeing that or enough smoke and mirrors anymore to trick folks. Sometimes the truth just hurts. Terry and Kimmy have got to GO!!!!!!!

  • Hugo S. LaVia

    They can’t go back to when Branstad was initially elected governor, the papyrus scrolls used for record keeping back then dried up and blew away.

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