- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A retired Iowa judge says a fraud charge filed against her former colleague appears to be “blatant retribution” for her efforts to criticize and sue the state.

Retired Administrative Law Judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer says Susan Ackerman’s prosecution is a “malicious use of the criminal justice system” designed to give the state an advantage against Ackerman’s civil claims.

She says authorities must investigate whether their former agency, Iowa Workforce Development, is pushing the case to discourage employees from pursuing remedies for mistreatment.

Ackerman surrendered last month on a felony charge alleging she lied on insurance forms to give her adult daughter health coverage. The state fired the 15-year judge over the same allegation two years ago.

Ackerman has denied criminal wrongdoing, saying she received permission from a human resources employee before making the change.

Months earlier, Ackerman helped expose pressure that Workforce Development’s director was putting on judges to favor employers over workers in rulings on unemployment benefits. Hendricksmeyer also spoke out but had already retired.

Ackerman’s union is challenging her termination, and she’s filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the state.

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