Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Let us in...

Interesting sidenote at day 912 (o.k., not really) of CIETC hearings at the Statehouse. The Govt Oversight Committee adjourned (or at least republican Senator Ron Wieck announced the meeting adjourned). Then they kicked us out (media and spectators...o.k., there weren't really many spectators). They told us they were meeting with their legal counsel.

You'll recall there are three different legal counsels helping with the CIETC stuff. Tim Higgins from the Des Moines Register (and a fellow Mizzou alum, I might add...M-I-Z-Z-O-U) and I protested. We didn't see why the meeting needed to be closed. Sen. Wieck said, technically, it wasn't a meeting, since the committee adjourned. So we asked, "then why should you close it, if it's not a meeting?"

He called in the legislature's legal expert. He told us the legislature's not bound by Open Meetings laws (Senator Wieck was actually incredibly polite about all of this and seemed very willing to find an amicable solution to it all). Legal dude cited "attorney-client privilege". We got booted.

Afterwards, I'm still not sure whether we should have gotten kicked out or what real "legal" advice legislators received after we got shown the door. Truth be told, I'm not sure who's right in this situation. But it's important to make public servants accountable to laws and openness in government (I hope my old journalism prof's read this:)

I just got this release from Senate dems...

Oversight Co-Chair: Secret meetings are wrong approach to cleaning up CIETC scandal
Statement by State Senator Tom Courtney, Democratic Co-Chair of the Senate Oversight Committee

"I'm concerned that the effort to investigate the CIETC scandal and to prevent further abuses of the public trust may be in danger of collapsing. My concerns come from statements made by Republican Senators in today's unnecessary and secret session of the Oversight Committee."
"Republicans kept the public and the news media out of the room for more than an hour while we discussed the future of our investigation. I opposed the secret session because the public deserves to know how we intend to proceed with this investigation, how much it will cost, and how we intend to achieve our top goals: holding the wrongdoers accountable and passing additional protections to ensure that it never happens again."
"I strongly believe that relying on secrecy and lack of public disclosure is the wrong way to investigate a scandal created by secrecy and lack of public disclosure."

Open the door.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Naw, just kidding, they did spell that one right...CIETC. They just couldn't get much else right.
Here's what the Legislative Fiscal Services' list of testifiers (is that a word?) looked like for the Govt Oversight Committee hearing on Monday:

Jack Cline, CEO, CIETC
Tammy Higar, Payroll Clerk, CIETC
Diane Bolden, Executive Secretary, CIETC and CIETC Board

Tammy Higar even joked about the list during her testimony. She said she thought she had a different job until she showed up at the statehouse.

Here's how the list should have read:

Jack's really a program manager.
Tammy's really an assistant accountant.
Dianne's really an administrative assistant.

But who cares about titles anyway.

Dave Price
General Manager

Friday, June 23, 2006

A-O.K. at IWD?

IWD says getting rid of its H.R. department is not CIETC-related. I'm struggling to find many people who believe this. IWD spokesperson Kerry Koonce says it's a way to "streamline" and save about 200 grand. So it's just a coincidence that two of the soon-to-be-laid off workers appear prominently in the state report analyzing the CIETC salary mess?

Jackie Mallory headed H.R. IWD employees tell me she should have known what was going on with all those bogus bonuses to the CIETC gang (Although, I can't find anything in the department's report that says that). Laurie Rieck was only trying to clean out old files when she came in around 4 a.m. the day after her two bosses got canned last April, at least that's what one of her friends just emailed me. Friend, even you must admit, at the very least, the timing of that decision just ain't that best, eh?

Other IWD'ers say the politicos just needed to make this whole thing go away. Getting rid of H.R. was a way to do that, they say. They tell me former IWD Deputy Director Jane Barto used H.R. to control who got hired under her and how many bonuses certain people got. So eliminating the department just makes sense.

You do feel sorry for all the good people at IWD, and CIETC, too, for that matter. It's gotta be rough dealing with all this crap. Hopefully, this will all go away soon. Well, at least until the grand jury comes back.

Outside the Dome...

Here's a post WHO-TV's web mistress Kelly just passed along to me... It's from News Copy New York's blog this a.m. Notice anything wrong, fellow "Buckeyes"?

Pataki's "Orgy of Patronage"
Iowa Governor, no, no, New York Governor George Pataki (R) has been busy racking up those frequent flyer miles to the Buckeye State while at the same time promoting his "political cronies, campaign contributors, longtime aides and their family members into often-lucrative state patronage jobs this week, putting them beyond the reach of the next governor for at least several years."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How many does it take?

So I heard this joke at the Statehouse. It goes something like this..."how many lawyers does it take to spell CIETC?" Oh, wait, it wasn't a joke.

And this is only the attorneys helping with the CIETC hearings at the statehouse.
Here's the breakdown:

House dems have one.
Senate dems have one.
House r's have one.
Senate r's have one.

4 lawyers? 4 lawyers? Oh, wait, here's the punch line. I asked one of the Legislative Oversight Committee members who will pay for this. Who will pay for all four of these lawyers advising your elected officials on the same subject? The answer is, of course...you. That doesn't count the Polk County criminal investigation. That doesn't count the DCI investigation. That doesn't count the FBI investigation.

Thanks, Ramona.
Thanks, John.
Thanks, Karen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Travelin' Tom

Sorry, it's been so long. We had some technical problems... We want to keep this thing new, so we'll skip what's happened over the past week. Time to move on...
State republicans won't wait for Gov V to get back to town before they hammer him on another big company headed out of town. Rubbermaid in Centerville's the latest. Newton, Mt. Pleasant (the Gov's adopted hometown) and likely Webster City know how that town feels.
Repubs are saying it's Vilsack's fault. The GOP's lumping Chester C. with the Gov. The party says this shows what happens when they "keep fiddling a failed economic tune of trying to buy-off big business." Is that a slam on the Iowa Values Fund?...the same fund the republican statehouse majority passed?

Is the Gov winning over the folks in New Hampshire? Apparently, this guy says, no...at least, not yet...

Granite Status: Vilsack words do not match actions
By JOHN DISTASOSenior Political Reporter (Manchester Union-Leader)

IOWA GOV. TOM VILSACK was in New Hampshire yesterday checking the political landscape as he considers a Presidential run. He was also lauding the virtues of the Iowa-New Hampshire one-two tandem in helping to pick Presidential nominees.
Vilsack told a political breakfast forum in Bedford, “I sincerely hope that as the Democratic National Committee continues its deliberations about the (nominating calendar), it recognizes the unique responsibility New Hampshire and Iowa have had for so long and preserves the ability of Iowa and New Hampshire to do what they’ve done so well — start the process.”
Sounded good — but the trouble is, Vilsack’s people on key national Democratic panels have opposed retaining that one-two tandem. They’ve gone along with the majority in early key votes that would dilute the traditional impact of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary by shoving it down the nominating calendar to third or fourth place.
In key votes in December and March, Vilsack’s Iowans voted with the majorities to place an additional caucus or two between the Iowa caucus and the primary.
The plan has yet to be made final by the rules committee and the full DNC, but New Hampshire Democrats widely viewed the Iowa votes as a clear break from the decades-long alliance between the two states to work together to protect their early positions.
New Hampshire Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan, herself a member of the DNC rules committee, said:
“There are a number of New Hampshire Democrats who are disappointed that the Iowa commissioners and member of the rules committee have not voted with New Hampshire on these things.”
Vilsack said he has not talked to the Iowans on these panels about it. One of them was Des Moines attorney Jerry Crawford, a big contributor to Vilsack’s Heartland PAC. The rules committee member is Sally Pederson, Vilsack’s own lieutenant governor and chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.
He said he knew that both states’ officials were concerned late last year that both could lose their early events, but the commission decided against such a drastic move.
“I can only assume the reasons the Iowans did what they did,” said Vilsack, “was to make sure the Iowa caucus was preserved in its number one capacity and the New Hampshire primary was preserved in its capacity because there was a real effort to completely blow that process up and start anew.”
Vilsack said it would be “unfair” to say the Iowans voted as they did because they agreed with the majorities that New Hampshire is not ethnically diverse enough to maintain its second spot in the caucus/primary lineup.
Vilsack was asked if he believes the calendar should remain as is — with Iowa’s caucus first, followed eight days later by New Hampshire’s primary — or whether a caucus or two from more diverse states should be in between.
He didn’t follow the lead of potential Democratic hopefuls Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Tom Daschle, who clearly backed the status quo.
“My preference would be that we figure out a process that would be acceptable to New Hampshire and Iowa and acceptable to the secretaries of state of those states,” he said. “I don’t know how this ultimately is going to turn out.”
He said he does not want “a large state to dominate the process,” and promised, “We will fight hard to ensure that Iowa remains first as a caucus and New Hampshire remains first as a primary.”
That’s not quite the point, of course. The DNC plan would keep the first primary in New Hampshire, but would make it the third or fourth event overall.
“If the party makes the decision to insert something in between,” said Vilsack, “then I hope there is sufficient time that it doesn’t do what people here think it may do, which is to diminish the importance of New Hampshire.”
“I may be ‘Pollyanna-ish’ about this,” Vilsack said, but regardless of future DNC action, he doubts the primary’s role will be diminished because candidates will campaign in New Hampshire.
He doubts the DNC will place two states between Iowa and New Hampshire.
“The discussions I’ve heard have not been focused on two states, it’s been focused on one state,” he said. Besides, he said. “Don’t you have (potential candidates) coming here? You are going to continue to have people come here.”
What will the Iowans do in future important DNC calendar votes? The rules committee is expected to vote soon on whether to adopt the commission report fully. Its March vote was to accept it as a “framework.”
Vilsack promised that as a result of questions raised by the Granite Status, “I’m going to find out what the status is.”
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who also has not clearly opposed a change in the delegate selection process, may be coming around.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

It's almost time...

The cold ones are flowing here at Culver Campaign Central. Still an hour to go til the numbers come in. At least there are some people here now. It's been empty. A few signs fell down. Is THAT a sign?

There are some nervous people. I'm hearing republicans are switching parties at the polls. Wonder if that'll make a difference? Help Blouin? Help Fallon?

CC Campaign Manager Patrick Dillon found out he'll have to "fill time" with us, as we call it, if we don't have a winner by 10pm.

"You ain't seen nothin' yet" just started playing. BTO, I think. O.K., now some feedback. What is this now? I think it's Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life". Did they mean to play that?

Feelin' good

Patty Judge says the Culver Camp's "upbeat". I just ran into her at Culver for Gov HQuarters here at the Hotel Ft. DSM. Yep, that's a direct quote..."upbeat." They always say that at these things. I wonder if anyone says, "this stinks. We're getting our a*$'s beat!" Probably not. Of course, no one's saying that here.

But she's been through all of this before. Judge says she got a good night's sleep. She feels good. Good to sleep in her own bed. She told me she had to run her car through the carwash twice after the statewide tour. Lots o' bugs. Looks good now, she says. No sign of Chet C. No surprise. Probably won't see him for hours. Maybe not til the speech. Victory Speech?

It's getting close to 6. Gotta go back on tv... I hope dinner comes soon...getting hungry.

Camp Chet

We just hooked up at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in beautiful downtown Des Moines...site of Chet Culver for Gov Victory Party Headquarters.
Breaking news...tornado just hit in Linn County someplace. Polls shut down for about a half hour, but they're back up. The Culver Camp was hoping for high turnout tonight. I wonder if that'll affect things.
With Culver's early name i.d. and his daddy's early money connections, they think they should get a bunch of support tonight. If not, look out.
Poll politics has been interesting the last few days. Monday, at his last stop around 6pm, Culver cited poll numbers from last week. Said he'd win this. Blouin, about an hour earlier, cited more recent polling. Said race too close to call. I talked to Fallon on the phone about 8pm (he was getting back too late to get him on camera) Fallon said folks at his stops prove he has the big mo (momentum). Ah, the numbers game.
Who's gonna win this tonight? Let's talk about it...
Gotta get ready to go on tv...stay tuned.