An Iowa jury recently awarded Christopher Godfrey, a former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, $1.5 million after Godfrey sued former Governor Terry Branstad for trying to force him to resign his position. Godfrey asserted Branstad wanted to get rid of him because he was gay, and after weeks of trial and numerous witnesses, the jury agreed. The decision was hailed as a victory for gay rights, and rightfully so.
But there was a second, perhaps equally important, verdict in the case. The jury also found the former governor had illegally sought to influence workers’ compensation legal decisions with Branstad’s own anti-labor political policies, revealing an inherent defect in our state government structure which allows potential abuse of the administrative law system.