Branstad left lucrative gig to run for fifth term

A pile of the 2009 personal income tax returns filed by Terry and Chris Branstad sat on a conference table in Branstad campaign headquarters this afternoon.  Five reporters and two photojournalists were in the room, as was Branstad’s campaign manager, Jeff Boeyink, and the C.P.A. who filed the Branstads’ returns.   Reporters were allowed to read through the documents (but not allowed to take the returns out of the room) and Boeyink discussed details.  

Here are some key elements:

  • It appears Branstad’s annual salary as president of Des Moines University was at least $330,000.  That’s because the documents (and a summary provided by the Branstad campaign) indicate Branstad’s D.M.U. salary through October 31 (when he retired as DMU president) was about $276,000.  Add another two months to that and you get an approximation of his annual salary, although Boeyink said there were “performance bonuses” included in Branstad’s contract which may have boosted the figure beyond $330,000 by December 31, 2009 had Branstad stayed at the school.  In summary:  Branstad left a job that paid at least $330,000 a year to seek a job (the governorship) which pays $130,000 annually.
  • Branstad reported an IPERS pension of nearly $52,000.  Branstad was a state legislator for six years; lieutenant governor for four years and governor for 16 years.  That’s 26 years drawing a state salary, hence the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) pension.  Branstad is 63 years old today.  His campaign manager wasn’t sure when Branstad started drawing the pension.  Boeyink said Branstad is willing to forego the pension for four years if he’s elected to another four-year term as governor.  And Branstad, if elected, will ask legislators to pass a bill ensuring his pension doesn’t grow based on four additional years of service.  (He’d get a heftier pension after 30 years of service than after 26 years if the rules aren’t changed.)
  • Branstad and his wife, Chris, owned 13 buildings in rural Iowa last year when they rented to the United States Postal Service for Post Offices.  They sold one of the properties early this year, so they own an even dozen rather than a baker’s dozen today.
  • Branstad serves on four corporate boards and earned over $21,000 in those roles in 2009.  Boeyink says Branstad would resign from those boards if he’s elected.  Branstad also promises to put all his investments in a blind trust if he’s elected.
  • Branstad and his wife, Chris, gave just over 10 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity, writing over $41,000 in checks to churches, schools, hospitals and even to Des Moines University.
  • Branstad got a small farm payment of less than $200 from the federal government — a Conservation Reserve Program rent payment on some of the land the sits near the Branstad home in rural Boone County.  The home is on a 17-acre tract of land.  The tax return didn’t indicate how much is C.R.P. ground. 
  • Read more about Branstad’s return as well as information about Governor Chet Culver’s 2009 tax return.
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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.