- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has defended allowing a lobbyist to attend a private bill signing of the state’s new collective bargaining law.

Branstad told reporters Monday that Drew Klein of Americans for Prosperity witnessed the Friday signing because the lobbyist asked. Members of the press inquired about the event and were told it was private.

Americans for Prosperity is a national organization that donates to conservative causes often backed by Republicans. Klein is the group’s Iowa director and registered for the legislation, which eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

Klein posted a photo on Twitter of himself and Branstad at the signing. Several Democrats criticized the photo.

Branstad defended the media’s exclusion from the signing by saying he’s accessible through events like weekly press conferences.

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