More Iowa secret settlements identified; cost rises to $700K

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.

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