IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A top aide to Gov. Kim Reynolds took a management job with tech giant Apple months after helping promote a $208 million incentive package for the company’s planned Iowa data center as a good deal for taxpayers.
Tim Albrecht left as Reynolds‘ deputy chief of staff to begin work at Apple in March as a regional manager of strategic initiatives. Albrecht’s position is “unrelated” to the $1.3 billion complex the company is building outside Des Moines, a deal the administration negotiated, announced and defended when Albrecht was Reynolds‘ senior adviser, according to the governor’s office.
Supporters of the Apple project have argued that it’s a landmark development for the fast-growing city of Waukee that will strengthen the state’s tech industry. Critics, including some economists and Democrats running for governor, have blasted the $208 million in tax breaks pledged by the city and state, saying they’re far too generous for a project that will only create 50 full-time jobs once construction is complete.
Albrecht, a longtime GOP public relations professional, was involved in planning and reviewing information for an Aug. 24 press conference in which Reynolds and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the project to applause outside the Capitol, the governor’s office confirmed.
“Welcome to Iowa, Apple!” Albrecht tweeted along with a photo from that event, among more than two dozen tweets he sent from his personal account over a one-month period promoting the deal.
Many of those were retweets of news articles and state officials characterizing the deal as a “win-win for Iowa” and great investment.
Reynolds‘ press secretary Brenna Smith said Albrecht is working in Apple’s education department, which has contracts to sell products to K-12 schools, universities and other government agencies. She said the office didn’t publicize Albrecht’s departure because it hasn’t announced personnel changes since Reynolds took office last year.
“Tim is one of the most respected communicators in Iowa, and the governor is grateful for his many years of service to the state,” Smith said.
Albrecht, who made $121,000 annually in his state job, referred questions to Apple representatives, who declined to comment on Albrecht’s hiring, job duties and salary....Megan Tooker, director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, said Albrecht is not barred from working for Apple but must comply with laws designed to prevent ex-state officials from cashing in on their influence. For instance, for two years after leaving state employment, officials cannot lobby their former agencies or be paid by companies “in relation to