JOHNSTON — Republican candidate Todd Halbur says his record as a state government whistleblower shows he has the courage to be state auditor. Halbur says as chief financial officer of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, he discovered the agency was overcharging Iowa restaurants, bars and retailers for liquor.
“When I disclosed that information, I ultimately paid that price and they fired me,” Halbur says. “…Two weeks, ago the jury saw what I saw.”
A jury awarded Halbur $1 million in his lawsuit alleging his 2018 firing was done in retaliation.
“If you look at the actual court document, I sued the Alcoholic Beverages Division and its administrator, Stephen Larson,” Halbur says. “I did not sue Governor Reynolds, even though Stephen Larson is an appointee of Governor Reynolds.”
Halbur was hired during Governor Terry Branstad’s administration and fired after Kim Reynolds became governor. During an appearance on Iowa Press on Iowa Press on Iowa PBS this weekend, Halbur said he had suggested an investigation of the liquor control agency.
“That we should go to the auditor’s office, the AG’s office and the governor’s office through the Department of Management,” Halbur said.
Halbur was asked: “Did that happen?”
Halbur answered: “No….I was fired. I don’t know the reason why.”
During the trial, state officials said they took corrective action after Halbur found the discrepancies and he was fired for other reasons.
Halbur’s allegations about overcharges in liqour sold by the state and Halbur’s firing happened before current State Auditor Rob Sand was elected. Sand says his agency has reviewed Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission procedures and have confirmed the overcharging is no longer happening. Iowa is one of 18 states where a state agency acts as the statewide wholesaler for liquor.