Thistle: Branstad plays favorites when signing collective bargaining bill

afp and branstadA thistle to Gov. Terry Branstad for his invitation-only signing of the bill that takes a wrecking ball to Iowa’s collective-bargaining law for pubic employees. The governor’s staff had told The Des Moines Register there would be no bill-signing ceremony, which is the type of event normally open to the press corps. But on Feb. 17, after the bill was signed, the state director of the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity, Drew Klein, tweeted a grip-and-grin photo of himself in the governor’s office. “Was honored to witness Governor Branstad sign this historic bill into law,” Klein wrote. Asked later why Klein was deserving of such special treatment, the governor said “quite a few people” had attended the bill signing. When pressed for their names, he said only “there were a few other people” present. When asked if any of them were lobbyists, the governor professed ignorance — as if Klein and various strangers had simply wandered into his inner sanctum at an opportune time. The nation’s longest-serving governor added: “I don’t know who is a lobbyist, to tell you the truth.” That statement seems precisely five words too long.

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