Heineman defends his NU job hunt, will ‘repay’ state if necessary


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Accused of violating state rules with his bid for the plum school spot in Nebraska, Gov. Dave Heineman says if he went too far he’ll “repay” the state.

Gov. Dave Heineman

In his first public comments since making public his decision to apply for the presidency of the University of Nebraska, Heineman downplayed criticism that he used his office to kick-off his job hunt.

According to Heineman he was in a no-win situation:

“Can you imagine if I tried to hide the fact that…I had applied for the University of Nebraska position and all of a sudden next November I show up as a finalist, these critics would be saying there’s a secret deal between the Board of Regents and the governor.”

As Nebraska Watchdog first reported the Nebraska Democratic Party has filed an official complaint with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission—in effect the state ethics board.

“Press accounts and documents clearly state that staff, stationary, public office space, social media and equipment were used in this announcement,” says the complaint. “NDP believes that the governor has used his office and resources of his office to apply for the presidency of the University of Nebraska and that this constitutes a violation of the statutes.”

In an interview with KFAB radio in Omaha, Heineman met the complaint part-way.

“I take full responsibility for what’s occurred,” said the term-limited governor. “If the Accountability and Disclosure Commission says I made an error by putting that on official stationary I’ll repay the state for the paper and the time involved.”

The governor currently earns $105,000 annually, while former NU President J.B. Milliken made nearly $421,000. In addition, the NU Foundation bought a $750,000, 7,000-square-foot Lincoln house for the university president.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

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