Ethics complaint names Slockett

Complaint filed with state board against Johnson County auditor

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April 3, 2014 | 5:18 pm

A formal complaint against Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett was filed Wednesday with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.

Megan Tooker, the board’s executive director and legal counsel, declined to publicly release the complaint, discuss it in detail or say who filed it.

The agenda for the board’s April 27th meeting in Des Moines says the complaint concerns Slockett’s “alleged use of government resources for a political purpose.” Tooker said part of it deals with Slockett circulating his re-election petition in his office in March.

That move upset many of his employees and some fellow Democrats who are now opposing his re-election. Slockett has been Johnson County’s auditor and elections commissioner since 1977 and is being challenged in the June Democratic primary.

Slockett said he was unaware of the complaint until a reporter called him. He said he’d look into it but otherwise declined to comment.

On the day he circulated the petition, which was needed to get him on the primary ballot, Slockett told The Gazette he had done nothing wrong. Later that week he emailed an apology to the employees of his office.

The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board administers the state’s campaign and ethics laws.

State law says “a complaint shall be a public record,” but it allows some or all of its contents to be treated as confidential under Iowa’s open records law.

Tooker said she received the complaint Wednesday afternoon and had briefly reviewed it. The board’s process is for her to give it to the board chairman for his review before releasing it, she said.

She expects the document to be publicly available on Thursday, possibly with parts of it redacted.

The board on Friday will determine whether the complaint is “legally sufficient,” meaning that it alleges a violation of state code over which the board has jurisdiction.

If the board decides the complaint is legally sufficient, it would initiate an investigation, Tooker said. If not, the complaint will be dismissed.

The board will discuss the complaint in closed session and the only action in open session likely will be a motion either to investigate or dismiss, Tooker said.

Among the board's powers is the ability to order a stop of the illegal activity, issuing a reprimand and issuing a fine of up to $2,000.

The meeting starts at noon at the Jesse Parker Building, 510 E. 12th St., Des Moines.

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