AP Exclusive: Iowa regulator keeps busy private law practice

A powerful Iowa regulator has maintained a busy and profitable private legal practice even though law requires her to devote her "whole time" to state business.

A review by The Associated Press shows that Iowa Utilities Board Chairwoman Geri Huser has been involved in 50 cases as an attorney during her two-year tenure, signing scores of filings and occasionally appearing at hearings during normal workhours. Judges have awarded her firm at least $177,000 in fees for her cases during that period.

An appointee of Gov. Terry Branstad and former Democratic state representative, Huser regulates the service and rates of electric and gas utilities. As chairwoman of the three-member board, Huser has administrative duties and earns a $128,900 salary.

Spokesmen for the board and Branstad are calling Huser's outside work appropriate.