Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, chairwoman of the Iowa Senate’s Oversight Committee, has written a letter to Gov. Terry Branstad requesting “public documents related to secret settlement agreements with former state employees.” Petersen said she is seeking copies of all signed, unsigned and proposed “settlement agreements” between any state agency and former employees since January 14, 2011. She also requests information on state department directors who requested such agreements and the names of persons who authorized the payments. The request comes in the wake of a Des Moines Sunday Register report that more than $280,000 was paid out in six secret settlements to former state employees – many with Democratic ties -- who were asked to sign confidentiality agreements about the settlements. On Monday, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters she and Branstad were unaware of the secret agreements and payments.