Court upholds firing of Iowa judge who criticized governor - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Court upholds firing of Iowa judge who criticized governor

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By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A court has upheld the firing of a judge who helped expose improper political pressure in Gov. Terry Branstad's administration, saying she lied to get her adult daughter state-funded health insurance.

Iowa district judge Douglas Staskal rejected a union's arguments that the arbitrator who upheld Susan Ackerman's firing was biased and lacked "substantial evidence" for his decision.

In a ruling issued Thursday, Staskal acknowledged that the decision by arbritrator John Sandy was "very poorly written" and filled with spelling and grammatical errors. But he said that Sandy's "core fact findings" were clear that Ackerman falsely certified that her married daughter was single in order to make her eligible for state benefits.

The ruling is the latest setback for Ackerman, who worked 15 years at Iowa Workforce Development as an administrative law judge ruling on unemployment benefits cases. She was charged last month with felony fraud over the same issue that prompted her firing two years ago. Her supporters have argued she's faced retribution for speaking out against the state, but authorities have denied that.

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