Iowa maintains Washington, D.C. office for $270,0006/24/2013
DES MOINES – Iowa taxpayers spend more than $270,000 for Gov. Terry Branstad to maintain an office in Washington D.C., according to the Iowa Department of Management.
The office, established just more than a decade ago by the Branstad administration and lawmakers, is aimed at improving federal and state relations and providing Iowa with greater access to information regarding federal legislation, Tim Albrecht, spokesman for the governor, wrote in an email.
The office’s budget was roughly $230,000 last fiscal year.
Albrecht did not address questions regarding the usefulness of the office and whether it’s the best use of taxpayer dollars.
The office houses Director Doug Hoelscher and an assistant. The rest of the money pays for office space and other expenses, said Dave Fardel with the Iowa Department of Management.
Hoelscher did not return calls seeking comment regarding the purpose of the office or his day-to-day activities.
Iowa is among 28 states to hold offices in Washington D.C., according to a report from the National Governors Association. A spokesman for the association did not return calls from Iowa Watchdog.
Iowa law created the state’s current office, Fardel said. Under the legislation, the office is required to provide a state-federal report for Iowa’s congressional delegation, as well as sponsor federal training sessions for state government officials.
Additionally, Hoelsher is responsible for monitoring how federal budget policies affect Iowa, while maintaining key contacts with federal officials, according to the law.