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Hearings for Secret Settlements Called Off

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A legislative hearing looking further into secret payments to former employees for their silence about settlement agreements has been abruptly called off after a state official backed out.
   Senate Government Oversight Committee Chairwoman Janet Petersen says she was contacted by Gov. Terry Branstad's office and told the top human resources officer at the Iowa Department of Administrative Services was not prepared to answer lawmakers' questions.
   Petersen had invited Michelle Minnehan to the hearing Wednesday morning. Petersen says the purpose of the hearing was to find out the truth about payments for silence.
   The hearing was set a day after Branstad fired DAS director Mike Carroll when emails surfaced that clearly indicated payments for silence were approved by DAS after Carroll had denied they were.

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