Republican legislators are widening their review of a central Iowa job training program and it appears Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack is now one of their targets.

Senator Mary Lundby, a Republican from Marion, says the whistleblower who brought all the problems to light contacted Vilsack’s chief-of-staff over a month ago.
“I think that’s going to be kind of a key element in the next step,” Lundby says. “Did the governor’s office know what exactly was going on and if they did, why weren’t they concerned?”

Late Wednesday, Vilsack announced he had fired the top two officials in the Iowa Workforce Development agency for failing to take action when they knew of the exorbitant salaries being paid to managers of a central Iowa job training program that was financed with federal money.

Vilsack said last night he had been told of the auditor’s investigation, but the auditor is not allowed by law to disclose details of audits while they are being conducted and Vilsack said his office was unable to get any information.

Lundby is a co-chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee and the panel is asking Vilsack’s chief of staff to testify. “What did the governor know and when did he know it?” Lundy asks. “The committee will be pursuing that.”

House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says the legislature will stay in session until the Oversight Committee’s investigation of Iowa Workforce Development and the Central Iowa Training Employment and Training Consortium — that’s the federally-financed job training program — is finished.