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Branstad: No Mastermind of Secret Settlements

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Gov. Terry Branstad says no single person in his administration coordinated the payment of over $400,000 to former state workers who agreed to keep quiet about their dismissals.
   Branstad at his weekly news conference Monday insisted "there's no mastermind" behind the payments and that they were mistakes made by department heads in a dozen state agencies contrary to his policy of government openness.
   He signed an executive order that prohibits such secret payments in the future.
   Branstad has been dogged by questions about the issue since it surfaced more than two weeks ago.
   He says the money for the payments came from departmental budgets.
   The Senate Government Oversight Committee chaired by Democrat Janet Petersen of Des Moines is scheduled to meet Wednesday and Thursday to ask questions about the payments.

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