A former Republican leader in the legislature faces questions from a Democratic party leader about his new job as an advisor to New York Governor George Pataki.
An ethics complaint has been filed against former Senator Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Clarion. The complaint — filed by a Story City woman who sits on the Democratic National Committee — alleges Iverson is violating the Iowa Senate’s ethics rules by accepting a $5000-a-month salary from Pataki’s political action committee.
Iverson lost a vote this past spring and was ousted as the Republican leader in the state Senate, then in June Iverson announced he would not seek re-election. But he’s still a senator ’til January. The rules state that “a senator shall not accept employment, either directly or indirectly, from a political action committee.”
Iverson talked with Radio Iowa by phone on Friday afternoon. “Before I went to work for Governor Pataki’s group, we checked with (the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board). They told me all I needed to do was to close my campaign account, which I did,” Iverson said. “Today is the first time I’ve heard about this.”
Iverson pledges to do whatever is necessary to get the situation corrected. That might include working for Pataki without drawing a salary. “If need be, I can work…for nothing,” Iverson said.
Democratic National Committeewoman Sandy Opstvedt of Story City filed the complaint. Opstvedt says she doesn’t buy Iverson’s contention that he didn’t know he was violating the Senate ethics rules. “It’s extremely bothersome to me that he would do something that blatant in the first place and then try to mislead the public by saying ‘Well, I don’t know what this is all about’…when he knew very well that he was beyond where he should have been seeking employment,” Opstvedt says.
She says a senator with Iverson’s stature should have known better. “So I thought it was important that attention be brought to it and that’s why I filed the complaint,” Opstvedt says.
Senate Co-President Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg, the co-chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, did not return Radio Iowa’s call for comment, so there’s no word yet on if or when the committee might take action on the complaint.