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Civic Skinny

Job stats for Branstad, Culver, Vilsack. Steve King’s payroll: All in the family


The fact-checker:

No. 1. “More Iowans are working now than at any point in our state’s history,” Tim Albrecht, Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director, said the other day.

Not really. At latest report, nonfarm employment in Iowa was 1,518,200. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2008, when Chet Culver was governor, nonfarm employment in Iowa was 1,546,600.

No. 2. Branstad said that since he was elected in 2010 he has created more jobs than were created in the previous 12 years under Govs. Tom Vilsack and Culver.

Ignoring the word “created” — it’s unclear that a governor “creates” any jobs — Iowa’s nonfarm employment stood at 1,487,700 at the end of 2010, the year Branstad was elected. So as of now, nonfarm employment is up about 30,500 since the Governor was elected.

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Under Vilsack, employment in the state grew by 54,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, going from 1,473,100 just before he was elected to 1,527,200 in his last month in office. Under Culver, however, employment declined by 48,200, so the net gain for those 12 years was 5,800.                  

So by choosing his years carefully, Branstad’s statement was right. But, in fact, the jobs gained under Vilsack are nearly twice the gain under Branstad to date.

No. 3. Albrecht said that more than 160,000 jobs have been created since Branstad was elected. Maybe so, maybe not. But if that is so, then about 130,000 jobs have been lost in this state since Branstad was elected. For the net gain, again, is about 30,500. …

Steve King, running for re-election in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional district, pays his campaign chairman at an annual rate of about $50,000, according to Federal Election Commission records. He pays the campaign’s office manager at a rate of about $25,000.

The campaign chair is Jeff King. The office manager is Lindsay King. Jeff King is a son of Steve King. Lindsay King is a daughter-in-law. …

So far this year, the Principal’s political action committee has contributed $136,500 to various candidates around the nation, usually in $1,000 chunks. In February, the PAC gave $2,000 to each of Iowa’s four Congressmen — Democrats Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack and Republicans King and Tom Latham. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who isn’t up for re-election until 2016, also got $1,000 in March. The “Governor Branstad Committee” got $5,000 in July, and House Speaker John Boehner got $2,500.

As of Sept. 30, the Republican Party of Iowa had $188,414.64 cash on hand and had spent $469,701 in 2013. The state Democratic Party had cash on hand of $181,820 and had spent $1,111,057 so far in the year.

Leonard Boswell still has $22,910 in his campaign coffers.

Mike Sherzan, who ran ever-so-briefly for the Third District seat this year, refunded all $80,230 that he received in contributions from individuals. He also repaid $95,000 of the $140,000 in loans he made to himself. He spent $5,300 of his own cash, so the short foray into politics cost him around $50,000. Six non-family members had given him $2,600: a guy in Seattle, a guy in Albany, and Barbara Crowley and Dave Miles and Priscilla Ruff and Kyle Selberg of the Des Moines area. …

The Iowa Economic Development Authority, part of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, wants back the $50,000 it lent to a Dubuque company in December of last year. Last week, the authority sued Knowledge Through Data LLC, a software company, saying the company has “failed and refused” to provide financial statements and “failed and refused” to make the first payment, which was due June 1.

According to its website, Knowledge Through Data is headed by Brad Parks, a Dubuque entrepreneur who served for many years on the Vision Iowa board. …

Does a chiropractor have to be able to see what he or she is doing? The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments on that issue on Tuesday in Burlington. Aaron Cannon, who was born blind, enrolled in Palmer College, the chiropractic school in Davenport, and asked for an assistant who could see. The school denied that, but the Davenport Civil Rights Commission unanimously voted that the school should readmit Cannon to the chiropractic program. The district court in Scott County upheld the school’s requirement that a student must be able to see to perform the duties of a chiropractor. The commission and Cannon appealed. The case has attracted friend-of-the-court briefs from the National Federation of the Blind and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, among others. …

The meter keeps running: The Branstad administration cut the salary of Chris Godfrey, the state’s workers’ compensation director and the only openly gay department head in state government, by $35,000 after he refused to quit before his term is up. He has sued for discrimination and defamation and extortion. The latest bill to the state from the LaMarca law firm in the case: $872.42, putting the total to date at $484,123.64. That’s about 13 times the amount of the salary cut. …

Cityview joins those mourning the death Friday of Peggy Whitworth, a passionate and tireless worker for her causes. Those causes were many, but high among them were the city of Cedar Rapids, public television, the arts in Iowa and the Democratic Party. She helped deliver Iowa for Barack Obama both in 2008 and 2012, and she worked equally as hard for John Culver and John Kerry. CV

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