A state audit released today identified 11 more secret settlements made by Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration, pushing the cost to taxpayers up to $700,000.
In total, 42 secret deals with former employees have now been identified since Branstad resumed office in January 2011. That’s nearly double the 24 settlements unveiled by the administration on March 24, following a Des Moines Register investigation that initially identified six questionable settlements.
And with the increased public disclosure, the known cost has grown, too.
SECRET SETTLEMENTS: Previous stories on the investigation
For months, it appeared the confidential settlements cost about $500,000, but that figure has reached at least $696,745, according to the most recent records.
Today’s audit did not uncover more evidence of so-called “hush money” — extra payments made to former employees in exchange for silence.