ONAWA, Iowa — The Monona County attorney is recommending a review of Auditor Brooke Kuhlmann’s books after she was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Kuhlmann, who recently began her second four-year term as auditor, is responsible for elections, tax collections, preparing the county budget and other matters.
County Attorney Mike Jensen on Tuesday told the Board of Supervisors that it should consider contacting the state auditor for an audit of Kuhlmann’s books.
Kuhlmann, 27, was arrested Monday after she contacted a drug dealer’s cellphone in an attempt to make a buy, the Iowa Department of Public Safety said.
She didn’t realize the person with whom she was communicating was a state trooper — the phone had been seized Sunday in a traffic stop.
A quantity of methamphetamine — officials won’t say how much — was left for her in an arranged location. According to authorities, law enforcement officers watched her pick it up Monday, and then Onawa police pulled her over.
After her arrest, authorities released her on a promise to appear in court. There was no answer Tuesday morning when a reporter knocked on her door.
The County Board held its regular meeting Tuesday. Kuhlmann, who prepares the board’s agenda, did not attend the meeting nor was she in her office. Marilyn Kelley, the deputy county auditor, has been running the office in her absence.
Members of the board asked Jensen a number of questions, including whether they could ask Kuhlmann to take a leave of absence until the matter is sorted out. Jensen said he would research that but did not think it was an option.
Jensen advised the three-member board that it may have to wait to decide how to proceed.
“It’s difficult to say what the Board of Supervisors can and can’t do,” Jensen said. “What you guys are going to do will be dependent on what happens and what the final outcome is.”
Jensen said the legal process could take several months.
A conviction would not mean automatic removal from office for Kuhlmann.
The drug possession charge is a serious misdemeanor, Jensen said, and could result in a jail term of up to a year. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a simple misdemeanor, which could result in a jail term of up to a month.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case against Kuhlmann.