Brad Zaun’s public record faced little scrutiny during the seven-way Republican primary in Iowa’s third Congressional district, except for one time when Dave Funk targeted Zaun’s vote for an anti-bullying bill in the Iowa Senate. During the general election campaign, however, Zaun will have to defend his record.
Yesterday Representative Leonard Boswell’s campaign highlighted Zaun’s knee-jerk defense of Lynn Walding in February, when Governor Chet Culver let Walding know he would not be reappointed as head of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division. Zaun told the Sioux City Journal,
“I’m very upset about this,” Zaun said. “It seems to me that because of the dysfunction that’s going on in the governor’s office that he’s just the fall guy. I think the governor should reconsider because I think he was one of the best, most qualified people that works for the governor. I find it very disappointing.”
If Zaun had tried to find out why Culver declined to reappoint Walding, he might have learned about excessive spending and strange personnel decisions in the Alcoholic Beverages Division under Walding’s leadership. Those became public knowledge last month, when the state auditor’s office released a report on the Alcoholic Beverages Division in 2008 and 2009. However, Walding’s extravagant purchases and other actions raised concerns in the governor’s office two years ago, prompting the Department of Management to impose new controls on the division. The Des Moines Register reported on August 5 that Walding “sought to discipline a state worker who blew the whistle on potential misspending at the agency” and was seen shredding boxes of documents before he left state government in April.
Zaun seized an opportunity to bash a Democratic governor without doing any fact-finding on whether Walding deserved to keep his job. Absurdly, he declared Walding to be one of the “best, most-qualified” people in state government. Tell that to the workers who feared retaliation if they came forward with complaints about money wasted. Residents of Iowa’s third district need a representative who does his homework before mouthing off.
I posted the Boswell campaign’s statement after the jump.
Statement from Leonard Boswell’s campaign, August 5, 2010:
Brad Zaun: Walding’s Pal?
On February 24th, the Sioux City Journal reported that Brad Zaun came to Lynn Walding’s defense when Governor Culver decided not to reappoint him as Administrator of the Alcoholic Beverages Division of the State of Iowa:
Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, praised Walding’s administrative skills and fairness, saying he worked with him in his former capacity as mayor of Urbandale and as a state senator.
“I’m very upset about this,” Zaun said. “It seems to me that because of the dysfunction that’s going on in the governor’s office that he’s just the fall guy. I think the governor should reconsider because I think he was one of the best, most qualified people that works for the governor. I find it very disappointing.” (1)
An audit conducted by the State Auditor’s Office exposed numerous questionable practices at the division including dubious bidding practices, unjustified pay increases, and possibly illegal purchases using taxpayer money.(2) Today, the Des Moines Register reported an account of a whistleblower describing the destruction of boxes of documents and erasing electronic records by Walding. The whistleblower also described intimidation by Walding to remain silent for questioning the spending practices of the division.
“Senator Zaun needs to explain himself,” said Grant Woodard, Campaign Manager for Boswell for Congress. “As a member of the Iowa State Senate, it is his responsibility for oversight. Clearly he failed at that job and allowed himself to be fooled by his personal relationship and decided to try to protect Walding. Iowans deserve to know how he was so easily duped. If he was willing to defend him to the press, what else did he do to protect Walding?”