Agency suspends credit card use amid financial reviews

IOWA CITY (AP) — The Iowa agency that promotes affordable housing has suspended the use of credit cards that were issued to employees outside the state’s normal purchasing program, its interim leader said Wednesday.
The move by the Iowa Finance Authority comes as the agency faces multiple investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and questionable financial practices by its former director, Dave Jamison.
Documents released to The Associated Press on Tuesday under the open records law show that 21 employees of the agency had been issued Visa credit cards through Wells Fargo to cover travel, meeting and other general expenses. That’s more than one-fifth of the authority’s employees.
The agency’s board last week authorized an outside firm to review its budgeting and financial practices, including credit card spending by Jamison and other employees. The state auditor’s office is also investigating the spending practices, and lawmakers ordered the state to hire an independent investigator to look into them as well.
Interim director Carolann Jensen said Wednesday that she doesn’t know why the cards were issued outside the state’s purchasing card program, which is managed by the Department of Administrative Services and contracts with U.S. Bank. She said she has suspended their use amid the reviews.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced in March that she had fired Jamison, one of her oldest political allies, due to credible allegations of sexual harassment. A complaint released last month showed one woman alleged that Jamison had harassed her and others for years through graphic sexual talk and other actions. Others have alleged that Jamison and his directors had unusually broad discretion in their spending and little oversight.
The documents released Tuesday included the statements of Jamison’s credit card for the last year of his seven-year tenure as director. They show that he billed the state $573 for an outing at a Cedar Rapids ale house during an affordable housing conference hosted by the agency last September.
He also traveled widely across the state and nation during that time to conferences and meetings, including one at a California resort last July, and billed many meals and other expenses.