Branstad Group to Meet Privately on Deals Probe

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's work group appointed to investigate secret settlements with former state employees plans to meet behind closed doors.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced formation of the work group on Monday. The Des Moines Register reports that on Tuesday the governor's spokesman, Jimmy Centers, said the meetings would be private but that the findings and any actions would be made public.

Reynolds said she and Branstad did not know about the agreements with six former employees, who were secretly paid a total of more than $282,000 if they agreed to keep quiet. The agreements were signed over the past three years.

Reynolds says she and the governor first learned of the payments and confidentiality agreements in a Register story published Sunday.
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