Despite crime and punishment loans from campaign accounts are alive and well

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Will a bill tied to one ex-lawmaker’s gambling related crimes make it into law?

Don’t bet on it.

And that has one government watchdog crying foul.

Former State Sen. Brenda Council

Jack Gould of Common Cause tells Nebraska Watchdog the legislature is looking out for itself and covering up for one of its own.

Former State Sen. Brenda Council was convicted of two state misdemeanors and a federal felony for misusing—gambling—$63,000 in campaign funds.

To keep those campaign dollars in check Common Cause is backing a bill making it illegal for candidates to loan themselves money from their campaign accounts.

But the bill, Sen. Ernie Chambers’ LB676, is holed up in the Government Committee and with the clock ticking on the current session Gould doubts it will ever see the light of day.

“It’s making the legislature look bad,” says Gould. ”The public expects campaign contributions to be used for campaigning and not personal use.”

Along with cutting off those selfie loans the bill would also force candidates to provide the state’s campaign gate keeper, the Accountability and Disclosure Commission, with an annual bank statement.

It’s believed that had Council been forced to report her campaign bank transactions, the commission would have been on to her scheme.

Committee Chairman Sen. Bill Avery tells Nebraska Watchdog he supports the bill but most of his fellow committee members don’t.

According to Avery they’re worried that releasing bank statements, even if the numbers are redacted, would put the accounts’ security at risk.

Gould says some senators, in order to kill the bill, are just making up excuses.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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The post Despite crime and punishment loans from campaign accounts are alive and well appeared first on Watchdog.org.

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