Mary Mosiman still distancing herself from oversight failure

State Auditor Mary Mosiman continues to defend her failure to ask tough questions as an ex officio member of the board that was supposed to oversee the scandal-plagued Iowa Communications Network.

Mosiman had a spotty attendance record for meetings of the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission, which didn’t notice “misspending, cronyism and self-dealing” at ICN for years. Whistleblowers came forward last summer, prompting a special investigation that led to the firing of three top officials.

During a recent meeting with state lawmakers, Mosiman contended she had no reason to believe the ICN was being mismanaged and indicated she didn’t see her board role as relevant to her job as state auditor. She also revealed she hadn’t been aware that voting members were paid to serve on the technology commission, even though their salaries were written into Iowa Code.

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Waukee's small-time controversy could be talking point for school vouchers

Matt Chapman is a concerned citizen living in Waukee. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Waukee school board approved a settlement for almost $1 million to former human resource director Terry Welker on Monday. Two other lawsuits for wrongful termination are pending and one was dismissed in 2014.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits are former district employees, who allegedly faced retaliation after reporting that Chief Operating Officer Eric Rose had used school property at home, allowed unauthorized individuals to use school facilities, and altered time cards.

While the crimes themselves are petty, the settlement is not and will give ammunition to lawmakers with an appetite to re-write Iowa’s education system.

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Mary Mosiman hasn't grasped what she's up against

“Great article written by the Des Moines Register!” State Auditor Mary Mosiman tweeted on January 19, along with a link to a story by William Petroski about a video her office created to help city elected officials spot and prevent financial misconduct. “We have been working hard and I am excited to share what we have been up to.”

Later the same morning, Democratic state auditor candidate Rob Sand argued that Mosiman could have stopped theft and malfeasance by Ric Lumbard, former executive director of the Iowa Communications Network. A State Auditor’s report released on January 18 identified “$379,547.65 of improper disbursements and undeposited collections,” prompting the firing of Lumbard and two aides. Upon further investigation, Sand found that Mosiman was absent more often than any other member of the Iowa Telecommunications & Technology Committee, which is supposed to oversee the state broadband network’s management. When she was present, Mosiman “barely participated,” asking just three questions in four years of meetings.

It was the latest sign that Mosiman’s work will face far more scrutiny during this year’s campaign than she has experienced since being appointed to the job in 2013.

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"We have to wake the watchdog up": Why Rob Sand's running for state auditor

The state auditor of Iowa is not a “sexy office,” former Assistant Attorney General Rob Sand told me earlier this fall. “But it’s a huge opportunity for public service, because I think that the way that it’s run right now, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit for improvement.”

Sand kicked off his candidacy this morning with a website and Facebook page. He’s been tweeting for some time at @RobSandIA. His opening video is here. At the end of this post I’ve enclosed Sand’s campaign committee, including activists and elected officials from many parts of the state as well as Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and former Attorney General Bonnie Campbell.

Sand discussed with Bleeding Heartland how he would approach the job and why he is running against Republican incumbent Mary Mosiman, a certified public accountant who has served as state auditor since 2013. Although this office is not the obvious choice for an attorney, Sand considers his experience prosecuting white-collar crime “my biggest qualification” and a key reason he could improve on Mosiman’s work. Moreover, he’s not afraid to call out a “historically irresponsible” state budget.

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If all Iowa candidates had to win under rules Republicans forced on unions

“There’s not one Republican in this state that could win an election under the rules they gave us,” asserted AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan after the first round of public union recertification elections ended this week.

He was only slightly exaggerating.

A review of the last two general election results shows that Iowa’s capitol would be mostly devoid of office-holders if candidates for statewide and legislative races needed a majority vote among all their constituents–rather than a plurality among those who cast ballots–to be declared winners.

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State treasurer questions legality of planned budget fix

Governor Kim Reynolds’ plan to transfer $13 million from the Iowa Economic Emergency Fund to balance the fiscal year 2017 budget “would not be in compliance with Iowa law,” according to a letter State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald sent to the governor today.

If his interpretation is correct, then a special legislative session will be required to cover the year-end shortfall. Reynolds’ staff dismissed and mocked Fitzgerald’s concerns.

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