Iowa Ombudsman Accuses AG's Office of Interference

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By Rachel Begle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's ombudsman says Attorney General Tom Miller's staff has been trying to interfere with her office's authority to investigate complaints about state and local governments.

Ruth Cooperrider told The Des Moines Register that state attorneys have taken steps that "strike at the heart of our authority."

Cooperrider also says recent decisions by the attorney general could affect her office's inquiries into whistle-blower complaints.

Miller's spokesman, Geoff Greenwood, says some of Cooperrider's concerns were "a reach."

Deputy Attorney General Julie Pottorff says whistle-blowers can go to the ombudsman's office to air their concerns without the attorney general being involved.

The ombudsman's office has the legal powers to investigate serious disputes and make recommendations on improving how government works.

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