Statement from Senator Petersen, Oversight Committee chair,
on the State Auditor’s report on ‘hush money’ and related issues
“When the story broke earlier this year about former state employees being offered and paid hush money to keep quiet, few of us could imagine what else was going wrong in the Branstad Administration.
“Today’s report by the State Auditor is another wake-up call for Iowans concerned about secret settlements, hush money and misuse of our tax dollars. We need a long-term solution — not Band-Aids — to fix this serious problem in the management of state government.
“While Governor Branstad and many legislative Republicans show no concern about all these problems, the Senate Oversight Committee is continuing to ask questions that Iowa taxpayers deserve to have answered.
“We remain disappointed that Governor Branstad and legislative Republicans turned their backs during the 2014 session on Senate File 2358.
“The report today by the State Auditor demonstrates the need for the Legislature and Governor to get behind legislation, which was designed to keep state government open, honest and accountable to taxpayers by:
o Banning secret settlements and hush money payments throughout state government.
o Expanding protections for those who blow the whistle on wrongful activity.
o Requiring the State Auditor to investigate previous secret settlements.
o Preventing no-bid contracts on state jobs.
o Outlawing cronyism in hiring state employees.
o Mandating disclosure of state worker bonuses.
o Reforming use of the state “do-not-hire” database.