The state Executive Council has voted to hire a “special prosecutor” to investigate allegations Fort Dodge casino backers made improper donations to Governor Chet Culver’s reelection campaign. The Executive Council hired West Des Moines attorney Larry Scalise to be the special prosecutor.

Scalise was Iowa’s attorney general for two years in the mid-1960s. He also served as the first chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Scalise will be paid 80-dollars an hour to trace contributions to Culver’s campaign. The money came from three Fort Dodge businessmen who are partners in the effort to secure a state license for a new casino in Fort Dodge.

Attorney General Tom Miller last week said there would have been an “appearance of a conflict” of interest had his office led the investigation. Donn Stanley, a deputy in Miller’s office, has taken a leave of absence to run Governor Culver’s reelection campaign.