OVERSIGHT UPDATE: Battle Over Transparency

open records request

The chair of the Senate Oversight Committee is asking for more documents as part of its investigation into the use of confidential settlements.

On Tuesday, Senator Janet Petersen requested, “any and all documents that constitute, reflect, evidence, or relate to the department of management’s approval of the reduction in force and reorganization plans.”

Petersen says the request includes, “emails and private email accounts of department of management staff.”

“We’re still waiting for documents and information. We believe the story is bigger than hush money and we don’t want documents destroyed,” State Sen. Peterson said.

Governor Branstad called the move “partisanship at its worst” during an election year.

After the Senate Oversight Committee demanded Governor Branstad’s emails, faxes, and phone logs, Iowa GOP Chair Danny Carroll responded with an open records request of his own.

Carroll is trying to determine if the hearings could serve another purpose – to boost State Sen. Jack Hatch’s campaign for governor.

Carroll’s suspicions led him to ask for emails to and from senators Janet Peterson, Jack Hatch, and Matt McCoy using an open record requests including the terms “settlements, confidential, hush money, and campaign.”

Senate Secretary Michael Marshall responded Tuesday, writing in part, “your request has been denied. The type of records you have requested have not customarily been deemed public documents by the senate.”

Marshall also noted, “The Iowa General Assembly has the power under the Iowa Constitution to determine its own rules of proceedings.”

That gives lawmakers the power to decide if they want to release their emails.

danny carrollGOP Chair Danny Carroll says they should.

“The point is they could if they wanted to and they could remove any cloud of suspicion that their purposes are political,” Carroll told Channel 13. “I just think this is a special occasion because of the nature of this issue of transparency that this warrants something different.”

The oversight committee looking into the settlements met again today but didn’t get any new answers. That’s because one of the scheduled witnesses and half of the committee members couldn’t attend.

The meeting was quickly adjourned. It’s been rescheduled for Wednesday morning.

10 comments

  • John

    If Mr. Carroll would listen to his own words he would understand why the public perception of Branstad’s goals and actions since March is obscuring what happened and is happening related to the issue.

  • Coffee Pot

    I didn’t notice a request for information when Vilsack and Culver’s clan did the same thing. Why not?
    I was going to vote for ol Hatch. After this, I think not. Too political.

    • William Denison

      I don’t think you not voting for Hatch is going to matter much. By the time fall comes around folks are going to be lined up around the block to not only to vote for Hatch but also will be voting just to send your boy Braindead packing.Its spring and Iowans are already at the tipping point.

  • John

    This oversight commitee is a joke. Hatch thinks he is getting somthiong on the Terry B group. Anything for press. He may have to lend his own campaign more money if this is what he is hanging his hat on. I would liek to see these private e-mails between the three. I bet it would open some eyes in the general public and scare the heck out of the folks over at the DNC. I still ask the question. How can the government defend itself when they release emails from a former school superitendant because it was on a district laptop using a public e-mail account and these senators can hide behind “we make our own rules as we go along”. I am a right of center independant who would have never had voted for Hatch in the first place but this is the stuff that has gotten this country in a mess at all levels. Partisan politics on both sides will be the end of us all.

    • William Denison

      Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
      Thomas Jefferson

      • John

        Hey Willie better yet “I despise all adjectives that try to decribe people as liberal or conservative, right or left, as long as they stay in the useful part of the road”
        Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • Maria L

    I don’t think Hatch would like transparency and revealing his personal and business life. If he’s governor, just think… he could have more access to money to fund his already government-program-funded projects. Hatch’s wife doesn’t even drive a vehicle registered in Iowa- it has Wisconsin plates! apparently her mother’s that she’s been driving regularly for years now. Way to support Iowa with vehicle tags, Hatch. Ask his neighbors what they think of him. As a Liberal and neighbor, I couldn’t possibly vote for him with what I observe.

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