Republicans on the Legislative Oversight Committee say they need more information about the fundraising and spending Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack authorized for a special event in Des Moines.
On Tuesday, the committee reviewed sheets of paper with typed-out names and hand-written dollar amounts outlining bonuses proposed for people who volunteered at the 2005 National Governor’s Association convention in Des Moines. But the governor’s staff maintains they don’t know who wrote those numbers down.
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican fron Greenfield, says those bonuses shouldn’t have been proposed in the first place. “The mind-set of people in the executive branch that could give bonuses of $5000, $10,000, $20,000 to individuals that made a lot of money — where’s that mind-set come from?” Baudler asks.
The largest bonus proposed was for Elisabeth Buck, the governor’s deputy chief-of-staff. Buck was to get a $20,000 bonus, on top of her $102,000 yearly salary. “To me, that’s not a volunteer,” Baudler says. “That’s a salaried employee.”
The payment plan for Buck and others was abandoned, however, when Republican State Auditor Dave Vaudt advised Vilsack not to hand out the bonuses because much of the money came from private donors who wrote checks to bankroll convention festivities.
Baudler says he and other Republicans now want to see more documents detailing expenses for that 2005 meeting. “If you just shine the light of sun in on government, sometimes you rattle some cages,” Baudler says.
Democrats on the committee say the bonuses were never paid, so there’s little need to review the matter further.