Brenna Findley will be Branstad's interim chief of staff (updated)

Governor Terry Branstad’s office announced today that the governor’s legal counsel Brenna Findley will serve as interim chief of staff until outgoing chief of staff Jeff Boeyink’s replacement is found. Having run Representative Steve King’s office in Washington for years, Findley is better-qualified for the chief of staff position than she is for her current job. She worked as an attorney only briefly after finishing law school and did not maintain an active license to practice in Iowa during her years on King’s staff. Branstad had to hire outside counsel to represent him in a high-profile lawsuit (at significant taxpayer expense), because Findley is a co-defendant in that case, accused of trying to strong-arm Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey in 2011.

Branstad tapped Findley to be his legal counsel shortly after she lost the 2010 election for Iowa attorney general. He had promoted her candidacy heavily and even appeared in one of her campaign commercials, which he did not do for other GOP statewide candidates.

According to the press release I’ve posted after the jump, Branstad will name a permanent replacement for Boeyink sometime after September 18, when the governor is scheduled to return to Iowa from a trade mission to India and Japan.  

Branstad names Brenna Findley interim chief of staff

September 4, 2013

Gov. Terry E. Branstad today named Brenna Findley as the interim chief of staff for his administration. Findley, who also serves as the governor’s legal counsel, has agreed to serve in this additional position until a permanent replacement is found following Jeff Boeyink’s resignation last Friday.

“Brenna will provide continuity within our office as I search for a new chief of staff,” said Branstad. “I am pleased Brenna has agreed to serve in this important role, and will rely on her leadership as we continue the work and operations of my administration.”

The governor embarks on a trade mission to India and Japan on Friday. A permanent chief of staff will not be named prior to the governor’s Sept. 18 return to Iowa.

UPDATE: Democratic candidate for governor Bob Krause sent out the following statement on September 4:



Bob Krause today charged that Branstad’s  appointment yesterday of Brenna Findley as his interim Chief of Staff “places the poster child of his campaign of discrimination against gays at the center of his administration.”

Krause said that as legal counsel for Branstad, Findley threatened Chris Godfrey, Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, with a huge pay cut if he did not immediately resign. Then, he continued, she arranged to carry it out when he refused to resign. Godfrey is the only known gay appointed official in Iowa state government.

“With this appointment, Branstad says that gays are yet another group to which a cold shoulder should be turned in Iowa.  Governor Branstad has shown a remarkable lack of sympathy to those that are discriminated against because of patterns they have little or no control of.  The poor have often seen a short shrift, witness his veto of food bank funding. Immigrants get short shrift, witness his advocacy of racial profiling at traffic stops. And now, the gay community receives this very significant slap in the face! Governor Branstad, when are you going to stop this mean-spirited behavior,” said Krause.

Krause stated that in her role as staff legal counsel for Governor Branstad, Findley was chief enforcer against Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Godfrey in a campaign to discredit and remove the only gay department head in Iowa state government.

“Godfrey was appointed to a six year term by Governor Culver in 2009; He had had no need to resign. He is the only gay executive in the Branstad Administration. A pending lawsuit alleges discrimination, and also alleges discrimination, sexual harassment and breach of contract against the governor and Findley. Legal costs to the state as of June were $460,000 and climbing. Although trashed by Branstad as ineffective, Godfrey has won high marks for the agency with a national Work Loss Data Institute, which named the Workers’ Compensation Department under Godfrey as in the top 5 in the country. This fact alone proves that Branstad was actually after Godfrey for something other than incompetence,” concluded Krause.

Krause has an exploratory committee to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor. He intends to formally announce later in September.

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