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Branstad Responds to Settlement Controversy

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad is standing behind the director of Iowa Workforce Development who has been criticized by Democratic lawmakers for allegedly improperly pressuring judges who hear unemployment cases to rule against workers and in favor of employers.
   Branstad says he has tremendous confidence in Teresa Wahlert and says she's an outstanding administrator and very fair.
   He calls the criticism last week led by Sen. Bill Dotzler, of Waterloo, a partisan political attack.
   Dotzler sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor asking the agency to investigate whether Wahlert is violating federal laws requiring fair and impartial administration of unemployment benefits.
   He alleges Wahlert has created a hostile work environment and interferes with the independence of administrative law judges.
   Wahlert and Branstad deny the accusations.

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