Iowa AG wants to be excused from collective bargaining suit

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s top attorney wants to excuse himself from defending the state in a lawsuit that challenges a new collective bargaining law.

Attorney General Tom Miller announced Tuesday that he wants outside legal counsel to represent the state in a lawsuit filed Monday by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61.

Miller says he wants to avoid questions about a potential conflict of interest because public sector unions have supported him in the past. His office has defended Gov. Terry Branstad in previous AFSCME lawsuits, but he felt the action was needed in “this highly charged legal dispute.”

AFSCME claims the law, which removes most collective bargaining rights for public workers, is unconstitutional. Branstad’s office says it won’t comment on the merits of the case.