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SECRET SETTLEMENTS: Lawmaker Questions ‘Hush Money’

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On Tuesday in a letter to the Governor, the Chair of Iowa’s Senate Oversight Committee requested more information about the “secret settlements” with former state employees.

“I think it's outrageous.  Taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to keep people quiet,” says State Senator Janet Petersen, (D) Des Moines.

Petersen believes Iowans deserve to know why more than $280,000 in “hush money” went to six people, five of whom used to work in the Department of Administrative Services or DAS and one in the Department of Public Health.  Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds says she and Governor Branstad had no knowledge of the payouts.

“They're claiming they had no idea this was going on and I think taxpayers are going to find that hard to believe,” says Petersen.

The Governor’s Office released this statement Tuesday.  “A comprehensive review is underway to ensure the administration is adhering to the Governor and Lt. Governor's goal of efficient, effective and transparent government.  Upon completion of the review, the findings and any actions will be made public.”

Governor Branstad's Chief of Staff, legal counsel and Department of Management Director are reviewing the settlements.  Peterson says lawmakers want answers now.

“How are they shifting dollars around that they're able to offer that type of money without us being able to catch that?”

The request for documents goes back to January 2011 when Branstad took office.  Once lawmakers review the information, they will determine whether to call hearings on the "hush money."

The Governor's Office says any documents would come from DAS, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Iowa Public Employees Relations Board.


  • William Denison

    Iowa corruption at its finest. Branstads hush money isn’t so hush hush anymore. He and family bullie people then we the tax payer gets stuck paying the bill.I’m tried of cleaning up Braindeads mess.

  • JPenny

    I’m thinking they knew about this all along. But if they truly were ignorant about these hush payments, why is that? In that case they not doing their jobs. Where I come from if you don’t do your job, someone else will. Time for someone new in the governor’s office.

  • William Denison

    One has to wonder how much hush money we the tax payer got stuck paying when the governors son drove his car into to those people killing them.

  • Debbie P.

    I’ve always heard Terry Branstand kept two sets of books. This is all the proof I need now. I won’t be voting for him again.

  • Mike

    Hush money? For what? What exactly is it that is trying to be “hushed” Because people working for the state government lost their jobs? Why is it that they don’t think they can lose their jobs just like anyone else can? We should always know what the taxpayers money is being spent for and this should be investigated more. But neithre Janet Petersen or WHO is giving enought details here, just accusations.

  • Trish

    It is glaringly apparent that the Des Moines Register has engaged in a frantic rush to smear the Branstad/Reynolds team (who, but the way, has done a fantastic job of getting Iowa back on its feet and growing,) and WHO is joining in the pile-on. Desperation by the media to oust a conservative is the name of the game. Those with common sense see through it and understand what a fine job this governor and his Lt. governor have done and continue to do.

    • Mary

      You are in for a big surprise or should we say a shock! Branstad plays with the numbers, there should be no tax refund, he’s vindictive and a bully. Iowa is starting to smell like New Jersey. Corruption!

  • Jessica Reese

    Nothing will come of these charges. Those in the court systems are mostly republitards. The democrats that were in the judicial system opted to retire early or go back to general practice once Terry was re-elected, since they would have been fired or “let go”. Everyone who is anybody knows that the Polk County Courts are tainted, starting at the top of the food-chain with Arthur Gamble (a worthless puke that has managed to outdue his father’s disgusting example as former Chief Judge…a hard task to manage). Then on up the chain to other courts in Polk Co. These accusations are most likely true, but nothing will happen. If Terry’s SON was able to get out of his charges, then I don’t think Terry’s worried about state “chump change”.

    To Trish – you say that he has done a fantastic job of getting Iowa back on its feet…think about how many Iowa jobs could be funded by the “hush money”. Those are families currently on state assistance that could, perhaps, benefit from those funds by way of a job, and the money is now lost to keep innocent workers quiet. $280k is, let’s just say 6 average jobs. Wow…can you imagine if we had 6 working families off state assistance? Hhmmm, improving Iowa? I think not.

  • Coffee Pot

    $ 280,000 went to six people? Wow, that is ridiculous. Almost as bad as when CIETEC paid 1.8 million to three people.
    Looks to me like it’s getting cheaper. All you D’s seem to think Culver shouldn’t have known about that, but automatically think Branstad knew about this. You people must be psychic.

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