Governor Tom Vilsack has issued a written defense of the head of the Iowa Lottery. Vilsack’s letter is the latest chapter in the debate over the Lottery’s TouchPlay machines. On Thursday, House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, charged that Lottery president Ed Stanek had told a legislative committee it was legislators who told the Lottery to put the TouchPlay machines in convenience stores.
Vilsack says he’s reviewed the complaint from Rants, and the transcript of the meeting where Stanek allegedly made the remarks, and the governor says Rants must have misunderstood because Stanek didn’t say what Rants alleged he said. Vilsack ended the letter to chide Rants for taking his complaint public so quickly. Also yesterday, a Sioux City attorney who is a member of the Iowa Lottery Board wrote a letter to Vilsack, saying the board had remained silent while “mis-information” was being spread about the TouchPlay project, and
Timothy Clausen went on to say House Speaker Rants has been making “blatantly false” accusations about the legality of the machines. Claussen says he lives about a mile away from Rants in Sioux City and their kids go to the same dance studio, but Rants has never once contacted him about TouchPlay. Clausen says he finds Rants “recent disparagement of the Lottery to be personally insulting.” Clausen says he and the rest of the Lottery board stand “unequivocally behind” Stanek and his staff at the Lottery.