A jury has awarded the Republican candidate for state auditor $1 million in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the State of Iowa.

Todd Halbur was hired to be the comptroller of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division in 2015 and fired in mid-2018. Under Iowa’s liquor control system, the state acts as the wholesaler for Iowa businesses that buy liquor to sell to customers. Halbur says he was demoted, then fired for being a whistleblower about prices on some products that were higher than allowed by law.

Halbur’s supervisors say pricing changes were made after Halbur raised the issue and he was fired for other reasons.

Stuart Higgins, Halbur’s attorney, issues a written statement. “It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to your employer when you know you have been wronged,” Higgins said, “especially when your employer is the state of Iowa.”

The state could appeal the jury’s verdict. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a $1.5 million jury award to the state’s former workers compensation commissioner.

Halbur is a small businessman and realtor from Clive. Halbur defeated a state legislator from western Iowa to win the G-O-P’s nomination for state auditor, but he’s raised little money his race. State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, is running for a second term.