Testy bid for state post finds strange bedfellows at work

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

“Smear campaign,” “skewed facts” and “much deception.”

That sounds like an across the aisle fight on Capitol Hill. But it’s not.

Scott Japp

It’s a strong show-of-support for Republican Scott Japp, support from the top Democrat in Japp’s home county. And it comes at a time when Japp is running for the Nebraska Legislature and the subject of a possible state investigation.

But none of that and more is stopping Dan Flynn, Chairman of the Washington County Democratic Party, from having Japp’s back.

And according to state campaign cash records, Japp needs all the help he can get.

District 16 incumbent Sen. Lydia Brasch—the rank and file GOP’s favorite—reports nearly $30,000 on hand as of a few weeks ago. Japp didn’t file a report, indicating he’s still struggling to hit the $5,000 mark. Then again he has time. The May 13 primary is just for show as both Brasch and Japp—the only two running and there is no Democrat in the race— will move on and face each other for the real title in November.

By the way Flynn has not endorsed Japp (or Brasch) for the state senate seat. When it comes to Flynn’s support for Japp, for now at least, it’s all about Japp’s role on the Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District.

Sen. Lydia Brasch

The NRD has been pushing for a state investigation of Japp, filing a complaint with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission accusing Japp of using his NRD post for “financial gain” at taxpayer’s expense.

Flynn is furious and has let loose in exclusive comments to Nebraska Watchdog:

“Scott Japp is the victim of a smear campaign being waged buy a corporate cabal of political operatives who are obviously aligned with deep pocket speculative real estate investors perpetuating a hoax with skewed facts regarding flood control in the Papio- Missouri NRD watershed district. The dam plans for Washington County are the ultimate goal and much deception over flood fears resulting from the Army Corps’ massive failure to manage the upper Missouri River system is their choice of fear- mongering at the moment to deceive the public.”

All this stems from Japp’s opposition to a proposed 225-acre, $42 million dam site in northwest Douglas County due to be completed in the next two years.

At the same time the NRD is acquiring land for the project, Japp apparently is urging landowners to cut a separate deal.

According to a Nov. 25, 2013, letter sent to Nebraska Watchdog by the NRD, Japp, who apparently signed the letter, made the following sales pitch:

“I have been asked to represent Canudigit LLC, a firm that wants to acquire a lease agreement for the topsoil and the mineral material aggregates on the section of land…that would be acquired from a governmental agency. This royalty would be addition (sic) revenue to the price you would receive from the sale of the land to the PMNRD.”

Papio General Manager John Winkler has called the move an “effort to interfere with the NRD’s land acquisition program.”

In a lengthy statement to Nebraska Watchdog, Japp called the NRD’s complaint “an organized smear campaign to deprive landowners from being justly compensated” and an attempt to “distort” his bid for a political promotion.

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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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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