Key House Republicans seeking answers from governor over confidential settlements & the blacklist

State Representative Kevin Koester, a Republican from Ankeny, is chairman of the House Oversight Committee.  There is a Senate Oversight Committee, too, and the House & Senate panels (mostly) meet together. Koester has submitted a list of questions to the governor’s office and, according to House GOP staff: “The House oversight committee will refrain from participating in additional oversight meetings until they receive answers back and if they deem necessary for follow up.”

Here are the questions:

Regarding Confidentiality Provisions  

1. Why did some of the settlement agreements contain confidentiality provisions while others did not?

2. What was the determining factor or factors that changed a settlement agreement from one that did not contain a confidentiality provision to one that did contain a confidentiality provision?

3. Of the settlement agreements that contained a confidentiality provision, was there ever an instance in which the employee was the party to the agreement that requested the settlement contain a confidentiality provision? If yes, how many and which ones?

4. In what circumstances or situations would the state request a confidentiality provision? Please list those agreements and the reason for confidentiality.

5. Did any of the state employees involved in the settlements solicit additional compensation for a confidentiality provision in their settlement agreement? If so, which ones and how much did they request? What was the final agreed upon amount for each case?

6. Would it serve the public interest for Iowans to know the reasons for the inclusion of confidentiality provisions in state settlement agreements?

7. Do the collective bargaining agreements entered into by the state allow for confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements?

8. Please denote the reason each employee with a confidentiality provision in his/her settlement agreement resigned in lieu of termination, was discharged, or was demoted as a result of a final disciplinary action.

Regarding Ineligible for Rehire Status  

9. What are the reasons or circumstances behind former employees being given an ineligible for rehire status?

10. Is this a separate list independent of the employee’s record, notation on the employee’s personnel record, or something else?

11. In a case where a state employee is involved in abuse or criminal activity, is the occurrence reported to law enforcement? What is the process for reporting this to law enforcement?

12.  Is it possible that a state employee who is involved in abuse or criminal activity would be eligible for rehire?

13. How do hiring managers know which former employees had agreed not to seek future state employment or were terminated for cause?

14. Are there any situations where a state employee, fired for an act of abuse, illegal activity, or something similar, found employment in the same field either in a different state or at a private facility doing the same or similar work?

15. Are all employees and former employees notified and given due process and/or appeals regarding their future employment status with the state? If so, how is this done?

16. Please denote why each employee with an ineligible for rehire status was given that status.

Fascinating Iowa SupCo ruling in dispute over candidate’s eligibility

The Iowa Supreme Court this afternoon ruled former state Senator Tony Bisignano, a Democrat from Des Moines, can run for the state senate seat currently held by Jack Hatch, the Democrat from Des Moines who is running for governor.  Here’s the quick Radio Iowa story.

Bisignano faces two opponents in the Democratic Primary in June.  One of those opponents — former state Representative Ned Chiodo, a Democrat from Des Moines — had challenged Bisignano’s eligibility to be on the ballot. Chiodo argued Bisignano’s conviction of second offense OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), which is an aggravated misdemeanor, was an “infamous crime” and therefore made him ineligible to serve in public office.  The state’s constitution bars those guilty of “infamous crimes” from serving in public office (and from voting).

The court’s ruling was written by Chief Justice Mark Cady.  Justice Edward Mansfield wrote a concurring opinion and Justice David Wiggins wrote a dissent. It’s all interesting reading and you can find it here.  Mansfield, who was appointed to the court in 2011 by Republican Governor Terry Branstad to replace one of the justices voted off the court in November of 2010, offered this interesting passage:

[Read more...]

Request for senators’ email denied

Iowa GOP chairman Danny Carroll made a public records’ request this morning (read all about it here). This afternoon’s response is below:

April 14, 2014

Mr. Danny Carroll (Sent via electronic mail)

Dear Mr. Carroll:

I am responding on behalf of the senators to whom you directed your request this morning for copies of “all of your e-mails and documents containing” certain words, phrases, and names in relation to matters currently being reviewed by the House and Senate Government Oversight Committees.   As authority for your request, you refer to the Iowa open records statute.  However, as a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives, I am sure you are aware that each house of the Iowa General Assembly has the power under Article III, Section 9, of the Iowa Constitution to determine its own rules of proceedings.  That prerogative overrides any conflicting provisions of the open records statute.  Both the Iowa Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives have chosen to exercise this constitutional authority with respect to the release or retention of information generated or received in the ordinary course of legislative affairs.

In this instance, I regret to inform you that your request has been denied.  The type of records you have requested have not customarily been deemed public documents by the Senate, given that their release would almost certainly have a detrimental chilling effect on citizens’ constitutional rights and willingness to petition their elected officials.

Considerable public information is provided on the Iowa General Assembly’s web site, including but not limited to:  1) bill history, which provides the record of legislative events surrounding all legislation;  2) the text of the Senate and House Journals, which are the official record of legislative action;  3) the text of the introduced and reprinted versions of every bill and all amendments thereto;  4) the declarations of every registered lobbyist on every bill; and (5) video archives of all action on the Senate floor.  The above access includes all legislative information available to the public.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the number above.

Sincerely,

Michael E. Marshall

Secretary of the Senate

Iowa GOP’s chairman goes to bat for Branstad

The wrangling over allegations of mismanagement in Governor Terry Branstad’s administration heated up today with news conferences, proposed resolutions and the following public records request from recently-elected Iowa GOP chairman Danny Carroll:

Carroll Launches Formal Open Records Request Seeks to End Government Oversight Committee’s Double-Standard

DES MOINES, Iowa- Former Iowa House Speaker Pro Tem, and current Iowa GOP Chairman Danny Carroll today is requesting the documents and e-mails of Sen. Janet Petersen, Sen. Jack Hatch and Sen. Matt McCoy to determine what, if any, political motivations are behind the Government Oversight Committee’s investigation into the Department of Administrative Services.

“It strikes me as disingenuous for Democrats to launch a partisan investigation while hiding behind “legislative privilege” to never release their own communications,” said Carroll.  “In the spirit of openness and transparency, I am formally asking these specific legislators to comply with the will of the people and turn over all pertinent documents.”

Carroll made the request via a formal open records request dated Monday, April 14, 2014. Terms included within Carroll’s request include (FYI:  I, O. Kay Henderson, have added info in case you don’t recognize some of the names):

• Settlements

• Confidential

• Hush Money

• Mike Carroll  (FYI: he is the fired DAS director)

• Danny Homan (FYI: he is president of AFSCME Council 61)

• Marcia Nichols (FYI: she is a lobbyist for AFSCME Council 61)

• Campaign

• Dean Ibesen (FYI: he is one of the fired DAS merit employees who provided a document showing he was offered additional $$ to keep his settlement secret)

• Carol Frank (FYI: she is one of the fired DAS merit employees whose attorney provided the email exchange with former DAS legal counsel Ryan Lamb about the additional $6500 she was offered as part of her legal settlement to keep it secret; those documents led Branstad to fire Mike Carroll)

• Tony Schultz (FYI: he is one of the fired DAS merit employees)

• Ken Thornton (FYI: he is one of the fired DAS merit employees)

“This investigation risks becoming a farce if legislative Democrats fail to hold themselves to the same standards as the administration,” said Carroll.  “The separation of powers should be held to the same level of common transparency. If these legislators have nothing to hide, I suggest they begin compiling the requested documents and immediately release them for the public to see.  Let’s level this playing field and have a full examination of the facts on all sides.

“Thus far, there are some who appear to be willing to stall the session as a political tactic, said Carroll.” It appears to me that recent efforts by the Senate Oversight Committee serve more as political posturing than in determining facts.

It’s worth noting Danny Carroll and Branstad have had a sometimes tense past. Carroll endorsed Bob Vander Plaats in the 2010 GOP Primary. Carroll was not Branstad’s choice for party chairman, either.

House Democrats held a news conference moments before the Carroll statement was issued. They’re calling for an independent prosecutor to investigate Branstad’s administration on several fronts.  You can listen to their news conference here.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, the top Republican in the legislature, issued the following written statement in response to the news conference:

“If House Democrats were serious about bringing more transparency to the oversight process then they would have supported House File 2462 which goes a long way to answering the question as to why these settlements occurred in the first place.  Their resolution accomplishes nothing.  It is simply a new act in the Democrats’ political theater.”

State Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines who is the only Democrat running for governor and is likely to face-off against Branstad in November, held a news conference this morning, too.  You can listen to it here. Below is his written statement:

DES MOINES – Sen. Jack Hatch, candidate for Governor, in a statehouse news conference Monday laid out four basic principles of management Gov. Branstad has completely failed to use, and that would guide a Hatch administration in ending Branstad’s mess and restoring the kind of strong executive leadership Iowans have rightly come to expect from state Government.

The full text of Hatch’s statement as prepared:

“I love this state.  Gov. Branstad and I may be political opponents, but there’s something more at stake here.  I will not sit by and watch the state government I’ve put so much time into become one big mess.

The Governor has been asleep at the switch and seemingly unable to know what’s wrong in his administration before it’s reported in the media.  This is what happens when you have someone who’s been in office too long and whose administration includes people who act above the law and abuse their power.

I want this government to get past this mess and work toward a better, more affluent, healthier and more meaningful life for every single Iowan.  That’s been my work in Government for 22 years and I’m prepared and ready to right this ship.

So today I’m offering to help Governor Branstad get this state back on track and get this government functioning again.

I have an MPA from Drake here in Des Moines and have managed large entities in the public and private sectors for the last two decades.  Right now I’m finishing up work on the Health and Human Services budget, the largest of the appropriations bills.  I’ve done for the past 8 years.

I know how to lead and I’m trained and experienced in how to manage large public enterprises.   And I promise you this, when I’m Governor we will do better, much better.

For now, this is free advice offered to the Governor about four principles of management he should employ immediately to end this mess and get Iowa back on track.

The four principles are:

1. Planning – State government should plan a strategy to open up all of the trails of the confidential settlements and hush money payments wherever they occurred.

2. Organizing – Within the executive branch there is a lack of integrity that means we need to bring in an outside independent reviewer, and auditor, to investigate fully.  This will provide impartial organization to this investigation.

3. Implementation – Every department director should report back to the Governor on a full investigation conducted within their department related to questionable personnel management practices and anyone who was involved no matter how high up the chain it goes.

4. Control – to ensure respectability and integrity of our state government, and to ensure the investigation is nonpartisan and not driven by outside politics, he should share all the information gathered with Iowa’s the Attorney General, who serves as the legal representative of the executive branch, who can then make decisions about whether there is culpability and for whom.  The Attorney General can provide the best legal advice.

These are the steps I would already have taken as Governor.  It’s so hard to watch what’s happening to Iowa’s Government now, and I look forward to restoring some competent leadership.

If there was ever a time for someone who knows how to make Government work, this is it.”

AUDIO: Branstad kicks off bids for sixth term, longevity record

Governor Terry Branstad made his bid for another term official tonight, with a campaign event in West Des Moines. Listen here.

Here’s the email sent to supporters:

Friend,

Tonight we have made our intentions clear—we are seeking re-election!

It has been our honor to serve you and the people of Iowa these past three years. It is an exciting time for our state as we have restored responsible budgeting practices, transformed our education system, modernized our healthcare, created more than 130,000 new jobs and signed the largest tax cut in Iowa history. These are accomplishments that we are proud of and will continue to build upon.  

Every day we are working to build Iowa’s future for our children and grandchildren; an Iowa future that builds on the best we have to offer, that embraces the challenges we face, but empowers our families and main street businesses for unparalleled prosperity. We will be traveling around the state the next few days to share our vision for building Iowa’s future. Please get your tickets and find the event closest to you through our website www.BranstadReynolds.com/Events. As always, we are humbled by your support and look forward to working with you for four more years.

Sincerely,   Gov. Terry Branstad  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds

State Senator Jack Hatch — a Democrat from Des Moines who’s running for governor — issued a statement.

DES MOINES — The Jack Hatch for Governor campaign released the following statement from Campaign Manager Grant Woodard in response to Gov. Branstad’s announcement of his 2014 campaign Wednesday:

“Wow, what a difference a day makes. Yesterday was “Unity Tuesday,” when Terry Branstad offered a bland and timid agenda and gave legislators an embarrassingly short list of to-do items.  That gave way to “Divide-and-Conquer Wednesday,” chock full of partisan rhetoric and campaign swagger. Tuesday’s speech ran 25 minutes.  Wednesday’s event took up much more of the Governor’s precious time.  There couldn’t be a clearer picture of Branstad’s priorities: campaigning before governing, party before Iowans, slogans before specifics.    But then, this is the politics of the 20th century – say one thing and do another – and hope Iowans won’t notice.  I just turned 30, a couple of months after he first took office, and growing up I never imagined Iowa would still be stuck with this Governor in 2014.  It is time for him to go.”

The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement:

Des Moines – Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Scott Brennan released the following statement tonight on Governor Branstad’s announcement that he will seek reelection:  

“Just like we saw in yesterday’s Condition of the State address, Terry Branstad kicked off yet another reelection campaign chock full of no ideas, no policies and no bold vision for Iowa.  Tonight he coined his campaign slogan as ‘Building Iowa’s Future,’ – but that’s only because he wants Iowans to forget his endless failures of mismanaging his administration and fudging his own job numbers.  From putting corporations and the wealthy ahead of Iowa’s middle class, to restricting women from making their own health decisions, and turning his back on increasing the minimum wage, it’s clear that Terry Branstad is letting Iowa fall behind the rest of the country.  Simply put, Terry Branstad would not build Iowa’s future, but move us further into the past.”

And the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa issued a statement:

Iowa GOP Proud to Work with Governor Branstad State Chairman Looks Forward to Republican Victory in November

DES MOINES, Iowa- In response to Terry Branstad’s announcement on Wednesday evening that he would run for a sixth term as Iowa Governor, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J. Spiker issued the following statement: “I was pleased to hear Terry Branstad will be running for an unprecedented sixth term as Governor of Iowa. There’s no stronger candidate than a five term incumbent Governor to have at the top of our Republican ticket this November. I look forward to working with Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, our nominees for U.S. Senate and Congress, our candidates for statewide office  and all our Republican candidates running for State House and State Senate. Over the next 10 months the Republican Party of Iowa will be working hard to reach out to voters throughout the state and show them the Republican Party is the party offering the greatest solutions when it comes to creating jobs, lowering taxes and providing greater economic prosperity.”

Iowans, where were you when Kennedy was shot?

Dan Welk, a Des Moines photographer who also anchors the occasional newscast on Radio Iowa, produced a video recording the memories of nearly a dozen Iowans who were alive when President Kennedy was shot 50 years ago.  Watch it here.

In the video, former Congressman Neal Smith — who is now 93 years old — said he was in the Montgomery Wards store in downtown Des Moines when someone in the store heard on the radio that Kennedy had been shot.  Smith shared that many in the crowd of shoppers who started gathering around him didn’t know the vice president would immediately be sworn in as president.

Welk also interviewed a man who was a principal in southwest Iowa the day Kennedy was shot, a woman who was in the military — she was a sailor, and several others who shared their recollections.

In IA today, Gov. Perry says he’ll come to IA earlier if he runs in ’16 (AUDIO)

Texas Governor Rick Perry is having lunch right now in Dos Rios, a downtown Des Moines restaurant, with a group of people invited to the table by Americans for Prosperity.  Perry spoke with reporters shortly after entering the room.  Listen to the AUDIO of the 6:24 minute event.

Perry was asked if he’s in Iowa to reintroduce himself to Iowans, what he’d do differently if he runs in 2016 and whether Anita Perry is encouraging him to run.  Here’s the transcript:

Question from me: What’s your objective here today, to reintroduce yourself to Iowans after your last campaign?

Perry: “Well, I think they already know who I am. This was an invitation that they asked me to come to the Polk County GOP dinner tonight, so we’re trying not only to address that group, but also with Mark (Lucas, of Americans for Prosperity) and to come back at his invitation to meet with some of his leadership here, so I’m really intrigued with the concept of having a civil discussion across this country with the citizens of the state, with governors and legislators for that matter, about this red state/blue state concept. There was a group created called Americans for Economic Freedom, it’s a 501c4 that I’m associated with that’s helping to drive that message out there and it’s one that I do believe for the future of this country that we should sit down as citizens and say, ‘You know, which one of these policies really put our citizens in the best position to take care of their families?’ I happen to think it’s the red state policy, if you will, of having a tax structure that is as light as it can be on the job creators and a regulatory climate that’s fair and predictable, a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing and that skilled workforce. Americans will be happier, I think, if the states are allowed to compete against each other rather than this one-size-fits-all. If ObamaCare is any example of that, that here’s an example of Washington’s centralized decision-making, at this juncture I think most Americans would say that is not a position that’s good for their families. It’s certainly not a good position economically and at this particular point in time ObamaCare is a failure.”

Question from AP’s Thomas Beaumont: If you do run again, what would you do differently than you did in 2012?

Perry: “Well, I would do a number of things differently, I guess, since we were not successful, I would suggest there are some other things that we would do differently, but I have no idea what I’m going to do, so to theorize about how I would, what I would do differently is a bit premature.”

Beaumont: You’re in Iowa sooner than you were two and three years ago.

Perry: “That would certainly be one of the things I would do differently is come here.” (Laughter from the throng surrounding Perry.)

Question from Des Moines Register columnist Kathie Obradovich: Anita encouraged you to run last time. How does she feel about the idea of doing this all over again?

Perry: “Anita is still a very concerned American, a concerned parent and she loves this country as do I and I would suggest to you I would not make a major move in my life without consulting her. Thank you all for coming and being with me.”

The news media was ushered out of the room and Perry sat down for lunch with the invited Iowans.

King a No; Braley, Loebsack AND Latham a Yes on tonight’s deal

Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron, IA) voted against the deal presented tonight in the U.S. House.  King called Radio Iowa this evening and the first question was this: You have been trying to repeal ObamaCare from the git-go. Did you think there would be a possibility you’d be able to get it done this time?

“I knew it would be very difficult. Having looked at the gov’t shutdown that was brought about by two or three Clinton vetoes back in ’95 and ’96, the scenario they had there was more favorable than the one we had and I advised the people putting this strategy together that was the case, but I also said this will be tried in the court of public opinion. If the American people step behind this thing strongly enough and insist strongly enough, then I can expect that we’ll see the House Republicans hold strong enough to get this done and instead too many of them saw that the polls they believe were going against them and they decided it wasn’t worth holding the ground we had taken and that’s part of what happened.”

King also said he argued against linking the debt ceiling with the end of the government shutdown.

“They put both of those together and once they got packaged together, the momentum to put an end to this all at once because the American people have fatigue and I understand that, but it’s worth the fatigue if we can accomplish the goal in the end.  We didn’t get that done in this battle. This battle is not indicative of the entire war and I intend to continue my efforts to repeal ObamaCare,” King said.

Next question, about the 87 Republicans who voted for the bill: What is the next step for House Republicans as a unit, or is the idea that you are a unit by the wayside now?

“I think we’re actually more together than it might appear from final vote…There’s more support here for our leadership than one would think,” King said. “There’s less division. There’s very little acrimony of people pointing their fingers at each other and saying, ‘It’s your fault. It’s your fault.’ Instead, they understand that everybody went through their own crucible…and that doesn’t always come out to be a unanimous position…I think we’ve identified 25 or 30 emerging conservatives who are going to be a voice for a long time to come, so we laid a foundation to do good things in the future.”    

Iowa’s other Republican congressman — Tom Latham of Clive — voted for the deal.  He issued this written statement this evening, immediately following the vote: “We were given two horrible choices to pick from tonight.  My vote tonight was the vote for the lesser of two evils.  I could not support an irresponsible path that risks defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States.  And, I could not risk an irresponsible default that jeopardizes the retirement savings of hardworking Americans and globally undermines confidence in the US dollar.  Washington has pushed the nation’s back against the wall – and this is no way to run a government – not even close. I share the urgent concerns of every responsible American about our $17 trillion dollar debt and the many fatal shortcomings of Obamacare. This was the first round in a long battle ahead.  Tonight’s vote in no way signals that this fight is over from my standpoint.  I have a 100% voting record on both a balanced budget amendment and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and I will continue that fight with every tool available to me.”

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, IA) signaled his support for the deal earlier today. Read about/listen to Braley’s remarks during a conference call with Iowa reporters here. 

Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City, IA) issued the following written statement late this afternoon, signalling his yes vote on the measure: “Make no mistake about it, the bipartisan compromise announced today, at the end of the 11th hour, could have been avoided and dealt with months ago. It is unconscionable that a small group of Tea Party Republicans would take our economy to the brink. Congress must pass this compromise immediately and end this manufactured crisis that is already hurting our economy. While I stand ready to continue to work with any member of Congress to avoid a similar crisis in the future, unfortunately, I remain unconvinced that the result will be any different next time. This agreement once again kicks the can down the road. We should have already come to a long-term solution. Iowans are demanding that Congress turn its attention from brinksmanship and political games to growing the economy and creating jobs. Fixing the economy and getting Iowans back to work has been and will continue to be my number one priority.”

Harkin a Yes, Grassley a No on debt limit hike/reopening gov’t deal

Earlier today Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming, IA) signalled his support of today’s deal to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt limit for a few months.  Read about/listen to Harkin’s conference call with Iowa reporters here.

This evening Senator Chuck Grassley (R-New Hartford) voted against the deal. He released the following statement:  “There’s been a lot of talk about the negative impact of not raising the debt limit, but there’s too little focus on the negative consequences of ignoring the $17 trillion debt.  Government spending has exploded since 2008, increasing the national debt by $6 trillion.  Obamacare is a drag on the economy and hurting workers’ ability to find full-time jobs.  Yet the President refuses to lead for fiscal responsibility, both short and long term, even with a government shutdown.  This agreement raises the debt limit with no action on the debt.  It’s a missed opportunity for forcing action to limit government and increase economic opportunities.  America needs the President to roll up his sleeves and work with members of Congress to address the long-term fiscal problems of our country.  Our grandkids depend on it.”

 

 

 

 

Sorenson sends email to constituents after his resignation

Kent Sorenson, a Republican state senator from Milo, resigned from the senate at about five o’clock this afternoon, after the release of a special investigator’s report of Sorenson’s alleged financial dealings during the 2012 Iowa Caucus campaign. Sorenson emailed his supporters and constituents at 5:47 p.m. Read his email below:

Dear Constituents,

 It is with heavy heart that I write this letter of resignation to you, my constituents.

In 2008, many of you coalesced around what seemed to be an impossible campaign that was my candidacy for State Representative of Iowa House district 74.

We won.

In 2010, even more of you jumped on the bandwagon I represented when I ran for the Iowa Senate in district 37, which became Iowa Senate district 13.

And we won again.

But it wasn’t because of me, and it sure wasn’t because of the money that was spent or because of the ads or mailings.

It was because of you. You agreed with the issues I campaigned on, like really fighting for the unborn, fighting against ever-increasing government encroachment into our lives and against big spending, fighting to protect the 2nd Amendment and always fighting against those who want to squash the rights the God gave us and that our Founding Fathers acknowledged when they laid the foundations our country was built upon.

A lot of politicians promise they’ll “fight” for this or that on the campaign trail and promptly forget all about those promises when their butts hit the chair at the capitol.

But I remembered.

I remembered how much you folks want to go up to Des Moines and beat some sense into the out-of-touch politicians who think they know better than the little guy trying to run a small business. I remembered how frustrated a lot of you folks were that we keep sending “pro-life” and “pro-gun” candidates up to Des Moines only to have them return with a bunch of excuses and “that’s the way it is.” I remembered how frustrated a lot of you folks were that we keep electing “fiscal conservatives” every election but then watch helplessly as spending kept skyrocketing.

So I kept my promise and started fighting. I fought increased spending. I fought to defund taxpayer funded abortions and sponsored Life at Conception. I fought to protect our 2nd Amendment rights and fought against gun-control bills and sponsored Constitutional Carry. I fought against government intrusions into the family and home like Obamacare and redefining of the family. I fought against family-budget crippling tax increases.   But doing so painted a big target on my back, and today I’m unable to continue that fight.

Many of you might be aware that there have been allegations made against me in regards to my involvement during the 2012 presidential election cycle. Throughout this process, I have maintained my innocence in relation to the specific allegations against me.

I’ve made mistakes and missteps along the way. I said things that should have been worded differently, I said things out of fear and at times I stumbled.

But I did not do anything illegal. I never did anything that was against the Iowa Senate Ethics Rules as they are written.

More importantly to me and my family, however, I did not do anything I believe was immoral.

The “investigation” from the outset has been a sham. My attackers were never required to substantiate the claims they made against me or exactly how I “broke the Iowa senate rule.”

But when the committee charged with doing their due diligence in weighing the truthfulness of the allegations against me shirked their duty and referred the baseless complaint to the Iowa Supreme Court for investigation, it became clear where the train was heading.

It became an honest, straight-up political witch hunt.

I have never made a secret of my feelings toward the Iowa Supreme Court. They believe and have for several years that they have the power to legislate from the bench. I happily and publicly helped in the effort to remove them from the bench in 2010, and was even happier to run against the spouse of one of these supreme jurists.

So what did the court do?

They took their revenge out on me by appointing a fox to investigate the hen-house.

The investigator’s family, according to a quick search of the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board, appears to only have a history of donating money to Democrat candidates. The game was rigged from the beginning.

After sitting down with the investigator, it was clear his mind was already made up, and anything I had to say was irrelevant to the foregone conclusion.

More than that, the investigator was given broad and liberal interpretive powers of the senate rules, in the same fashion that some folks interpret the US Constitution to have different “interpretations” when it comes to our rights.

And the report of his “investigation” makes that clear and evident. I followed the letter of the law in regards to the Senate rule, but it did not matter.

So that being said, I’m not a wealthy man. The pursuit of justice and defense of one’s reputation is a hard row to plow for a man of my means, and the phrase “justice is for the wealthy” will ring true to me for the rest of my life.

I can no longer afford to both defend myself and provide for my family. It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation for the remaining year of my elected office.

The decision to resign my office will release me from incurring further legal fees, allow me to start providing for my family once more, and bring to an unsatisfactory end this travesty of justice.

 I’m hopeful for the future. Those who stand against the values I have fought for may have won this skirmish, sure. But as I fall not backwards but forwards, I reserve the right to get back up on my feet and fight again down the road.

To those who hold to the convictions and principles I’ve fought for during my political career, time is on our side. In the end, we win, they lose.

And last but not least, to the wonderful people of Iowa Senate District 13, it has been an honor and a privilege  to be your Senator, and I look forward to seeing you again down the road.

Sincerely,

 Kent Sorenson

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Kent Sorenson lives in Milo, IA with his wife of 20 years, Shawnee, and their six children. Sorenson is noted for his staunch conservative positions and his insistence that the rights he fights for are endowed on us by our Creator. Paid for by Sorenson for Statehouse. Not paid for at taxpayer or government expense.