Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Senate are calling for another independent investigation of activities in the Iowa Finance Authority. The review is to cover the seven years Dave Jamison served as the agency’s director, until he was fired by the governor for allegedly harassing female employees.
“I believe we are all concerned about the allegations against former director David Jamison,” Senator Michael Breitbach, a Republican from Strawberry Point, said last night. “As a legislative branch, we have a responsibility to ensure there is a full accounting of any potential wrongdoing with regard to both conduct of IFA employees and the management of funds.”
Governor Kim Reynolds last Friday announced she and the attorney general have arranged for a private attorney to investigate the agency. Senators are calling for a separate review. Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, said Jamison’s alleged conduct in the office is disgusting.
“If it’s true, he’s scum,” Zaun said. “…I was raised you call a spade a spade and right is right and wrong is wrong — and from what everything I’ve heard, this was more than wrong, the way he treated females in his office.”
Democrats suggested the investigator’s report should be completed in 60 days, but Republicans set December 1, 2018 as the target date. Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines suggested that timing is political.
“It’s pretty clear you don’t want taxpayers knowing what’s going on in the Iowa Finance Authority until well after the gubernatorial election,” Petersen said, although she and the other Democrats supported the proposal to assert the legislative branch’s oversight role.
Breitbach said a comprehensive audit of agency finances, along with interviews with the six dozen or so employees in the agency will take more than two months to complete.
“I don’t want it to take ’til December 1st to get the answers. I will take the answers as soon as they are available,” Breitbach said. “I think the governor wants it known. I think everybody in this chamber wants it known…but I want it done right.”
The review Senators are asking for is also to cover Jamison’s decision to authorize a $17 million office move and how he spent up to $100,000 a year without oversight from the agency’s board of directors. Petersen, the Democratic leader, twice referred to David Jamison as the governor’s “long-time friend” during a speech on the senate floor late last night.
“Governor Reynolds, state government should not be your ‘friends and family club,'” Petersen said. “Iowans don’t like cronyism. Iowans don’t think your friends deserve special benefits, like unchecked slush funds — $100,000 is a lot of money.”
This issue was attached to a spending bill, so members of the Iowa House must now review the proposal to launch another investigation of the Iowa Finance Authority.