The retired head of Iowa’s highest court is issuing his ruling on a recent scandal involving the governor’s office and an ex-lawman.
Former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Lou Lavorato says Governor Branstad’s office in no way interfered with the investigation into former DCI agent Larry Hedlund.
Hedlund was fired last month from the Division of Criminal Investigation two days after he reported spotting the governor’s speeding SUV.
Hedlund is now suing the state, claiming his firing violates Iowa’s whistle-blower law.
Lavorato’s report says Hedlund’s dismissal was not a product of retaliation by the governor’s office. The report says:
As far as the Governor’s office is concerned, I interviewed everyone employed in his office, including the Governor and Lt. Governor. From these interviews and the documentation that I reviewed, I conclude no one in the Governor’s office directed or interfered with the Internal Affairs’ investigation or took part in the decision to terminate Mr. Hedlund’s employment.
The report says Branstad’s position was to have a “hands off” approach to the investigation and the decision to fire Hedlund.
Hedlund had a 25-year career in law enforcement and reports say he had made a series of internal complaints about the DCI.
The state trooper who was driving the speeding SUV through Hamilton County, carrying both the governor and lieutenant governor, was not stopped, but video of Hedlund’s pursuit was released. The trooper was later ticketed for going 84 miles per hour in a 65 MPH zone.
See Lavorato’s full report here: https://governor.iowa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Independent_Report_8-21-13.pdf