Before firing, ally wanted to ‘catch up’ with Iowa governor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Finance Authority Director David Jamison sought to arrange a friendly get-together with longtime ally Gov. Kim Reynolds days before she fired him for alleged sexual harassment, emails released Friday show.

The records underscore how swiftly Reynolds moved to terminate Jamison — with whom she’d had a working relationship dating back two decades — once her staff learned of the allegations. But they don’t shed light on the nature of Jamison’s alleged misconduct, which the governor’s office has refused to share with the public despite mounting calls to do so.

Jamison wrote to Reynolds’ scheduler March 19 requesting to set up the soonest available meal or coffee meeting with the governor, whom he’s known since they were fellow Republican leaders in the Iowa State County Treasurers Association in the early 2000s.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve had the chance to sit and visit with the Governor. No agenda. Just catch up. Fun for me and a break for her - I hope,” Jamison wrote in one of 1,300 pages of his recent correspondence released to The Associated Press under the open records law.

The Reynolds aide wrote back March 21 that the governor was busy with upcoming travel but “I bet we can squeeze you in.”

Reynolds has said that her staff learned from multiple state employees on March 23 details of alleged harassment they suffered by Jamison.

She announced his firing in a press release the next day, citing “credible” allegations of sexual harassment. The emails suggest the firing blindsided Jamison, who had been making plans to attend a conference in Cedar Rapids the following week. Reynolds has said that she didn’t do fact-finding or speak with Jamison before ordering his termination.

Critics have called on Reynolds to release more information about the allegations and whether she had prior concerns about Jamison given their long association. But Reynolds has said that she will not provide more details in order to protect the privacy of the victims, who haven’t spoken publicly.

Jamison, 60, hasn’t returned messages on his cellphone seeking comment. He earned $128,000 annually leading the authority, which administers several programs promoting home ownership and financing for municipal infrastructure.

Reynolds appointed Carolann Jensen as its interim director after firing Jamison. Jensen sent the agency’s staff an email to notify them of the developments that day, saying, “I expect you all to continue to perform your jobs in exemplary fashion to assist Iowans.”

Separately, records released Thursday by Story County show Reynolds and Jamison planned conferences together for the treasurers’ association, served on its senior policy group and lobbied on its behalf dating back to 1999. Jamison served as Story County treasurer until 2011, when then-Gov. Terry Branstad appointed him to lead the finance authority. Reynolds served as Clarke County treasurer until she won election to the Iowa Senate in 2008.

“Kim and I were all over central Iowa yesterday. To Perry to finalize details for the Leadership Retreat. Then to the Capitol to work on the DOT funding,” Jamison wrote to association members in one 2001 email.

In other correspondence, Jamison called Reynolds “my planning partner” and noted they visited a historic hotel in northeast Iowa while they were organizing a leadership retreat there. “It is beautiful,” he wrote.