Government

Democrats seek to expand sexual harassment investigation

Review follows firing of Director David Jamison

Dave Jamison
Dave Jamison

DES MOINES — Democratic leaders of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate on Monday called on Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to expand the independent investigation of David Jamison and the Iowa Finance Authority after sexual harassment allegations.

“The fallout from the firing of David Jamison should be a wake-up call to you,” said Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines, who signed the letter along with House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown.

“David Jamison’s disgusting behavior and the failure of key staffers in your administration to address the problem over a period of years highlight the alarming fact that executive branch employees are afraid to report illegal and highly inappropriate behavior,” added Petersen.

Monday’s call follows Reynolds’ statement Friday she has ordered an independent review of the Iowa Finance Authority work environment that led to the March 24 firing of executive director Jamison over sexual harassment allegations. Reynolds last week made public a complaint from a Finance Authority employee that alleged sexual comments, inappropriate touching and threats of retaliation by Jamison, who had led the agency since 2010.

The governor has asked Des Moines lawyer Mark Weinhardt to head an investigation and report his findings back to her staff and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

Weinhardt was directed to look into the conduct that led to Jamison’s firing and any similar incidents or conduct during his tenure as executive director. He also has been tasked with investigating “what was known at IFA about these matters and the appropriateness of the response to them,” according to the governor’s office.

The letter sent Monday signed by the two lawmakers outlined 12 key points that must be included in the scope of the investigation. Some of the key points include: the victim’s concerns about retaliation; misinformation provided by the Reynolds Administration; the long delay in calling for the independent investigation; an examination of the lease agreement with Hubbell Realty; and a full audit and analysis of expenses and reimbursement to David Jamison including the slush fund used by key executives without oversight.

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“The graphic letter sent to you by a victim of Jamison’s alleged misconduct highlights systemic issues that need to be addressed. While the investigation is a step in the right direction, the scope of the review is far too narrow,” Smith said in the letter.

“Given more information revealed this weekend by a whistleblower who was fired, the investigation must include an audit of IFA’s finances as well. The harassment, retaliation, and financial mismanagement in your Administration have created a culture of corruption that must end,” he added.

The whistleblower Smith referenced is Deb Flannery, an former Iowa Finance Authority executive who told the Des Moines Register last week colleagues had confided in her about inappropriate behavior by Jamison. Flannery said Jamison asked her to resign in January 2016, she believes because she raised questions about mismanagement and improper accounting procedures.

Flannery cited a hostile work environment in her resignation letter, but said she doesn’t believe state officials investigated her concerns. the Register reported.

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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