Common Cause Nebraska

 

 

November 30, 2008:  "The University of Nebraska administrators have been given a salary increase provided by the tax-exempt University of Nebraska Foundation.  This was advertised as a savings for the taxpayer and a new approach to saving money for the university. In reporting this new concept, the Board of Regents failed to disclose the long list of valuable perks already provided by the NU Foundation."  Read more in Jack Gould's op-ed. 

July 1, 2008:  The summer issue of the Common Cause Nebraska newsletter is ready!  Get your copy here.

 

May 5, 2008:  The spring issue of the Common Cause Nebraska newsletter has just been published.  Get your copy here.

 

November 7, 2007: It is important to distinguish when individual donors are the source of funds used for purposes other than direct campaigning, such as when an official makes a contribution to a preferred charity. Read the article in the Lincoln Journal Star.

 

October 29, 2007:  Common Cause Nebraska is not abandoning its efforts to end corruption on the Public Service Commission.  Read the article in the Lincoln Journal Star, then sign our petition.

 

June 8, 2007:  Join us for a dinner to honor and celebrate Nebraska’s good government champions!  The Nebraska Ethics Dinner will be held on Friday, June 29 at 6:30pm at the Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln.  Tickets are just $30.  You don't want to miss keynote speaker Tom Osborne, former UNL head coach and U.S. Representative.  RSVP today.

 

February 21, 2007:  Senator Bill Avery has introduced a bill (LB61) to prevent Public Service Commissioners from receiving campaign contributions and gifts from utilities companies.  Currently, some Commissioners receive more than half their campaign funds from the very companies that they are elected to regulate!  Help us end this corrupt practice by signing our petition.

 

September 27, 2006:  Jack Gould of Common Cause Nebraska takes on the Broadband Service Task Force for "slowing the wheels of progress," in an op-ed in the Lincoln Star Journal.  Read it here.

 

July 18, 2006: Please read our periodic newsletter that was sent to our members in June. The newsletter has information about the Campaign Finance Limitation Act, David Hergert's impeachment, Internet control, and other important issues affecting Nebraskans. Read it here

 

July 10, 2006: Suspended University of Nebraska Regent David Hergert was convicted of impeachment charges by the Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday, July 7. Hergert, the second official in the U.S. removed for campaign finance laws, was found guilty of falsely reporting campaign funds and obstructing government operations. The conviction stemmed from the 2004 election, where he neglected to report private funds that he planned to spend, thus depriving incumbent Don Blank of matching funds per Nebraska campaign finance law. In 2004, Jack Gould of Common Cause Nebraska was part of the lawsuit that resulted in Hergert's removal.

 

June 19, 2006: Over the past few weeks, the Grand Island Independent has reported on possible ethical violations regarding Veterans seeking benefits.  While obtaining these benefits is supposed to be free, they are solicited to offer a gratuity to their lawyers.  Read more here.  If you or someone you know has been solicited with a memorandum of gift on a retroactive benefit settlement, contact Jack Gould at Common Cause at nebraska@commoncause.org

 

April 12, 2006: Nearly two months after winning the first vote on LB 188, we have won the final vote and the governor's signature.  The bill was passed on April 3rd with a vote of 30-10, an even wider margin on victory than the first passage.  On April 10th, the governor signed the bill.  This is an important update to Nebraska's Campaign Finance Limitation Act, and we were also able to defeat an attempt by Speaker Brashear to attach an amendment that would effectively gut the act.  Thanks to everyone who contacted their Senator in support of this important bill.

 

In other news, the Legislature's Executive Board approved 10 articles of impeachment against University of Nebraska Regent David Hergert on Monday.  Read more here.

 

March 5, 2006: In a recent column in the Omaha World-Herald, CC/NE's Jack Gould discusses the need for tighter conflict-of-interest laws in the legislature, and the need for "revolving door" legislation to prevent former elected officials from trading in on their connections and becoming highly paid lobbyists.  Read more here.

 

February 15, 2006: Victory!  Earlier today, the Unicameral voted on LB 188, and it looks like our work was worth it!  Speaker Brashear's amendment to kill the Campaign Finance Limitation Act failed by a vote of 16-28, and the Senate approved LB 188 as a whole by a vote of 28-14.

 

(It's not officially law yet.  In legislative terms the bill has advanced to "select file," but today's votes showed us that enough Senators supported the CFLA to be sure that it will go all the way through.)

 

Thanks to everyone who contacted your Senator on this issue, and thanks to all the Senators who voted to strengthen Nebraska's campaign finance system.  Please consider making a contribution to Common Cause Nebraska, so that we can keep having victories like this in the future.

 

January 26, 2006: The Unicameral still has not moved on Senator Beutler's LB 188, a bill to improve and update the Campaign Finance Limitation Act (CFLA).  Fortunately, this means that there's also been no movement on an expected attempt to kill the CFLA, being pushed by Speaker Brashear.

 

As discussed in a recent op-ed by CC/NE's Jack Gould, Speaker Brashear has close ties to NU regent David Hergert, who was fined for violating the CFLA in his campaign.  The Speaker has also donated to and worked with other big campaign spenders, the kind of candidates who would benefit from eliminating a law that has helped to level the political playing field for a decade.

 

Needless to say, the Speaker is not too happy that we are calling him out on this.

 

January 10, 2006: With the legislative session underway, we're continuing to build support for protecting the Campaign Finance Limitation Act.  There's been no action on either LB 188 or on Speaker Brashear's amendment to kill the CFLA, but we expect it to happen sometime during this legislative session, and possibly within the next month.  In the meantime, the Lincoln Journal Star has announced its support for protecting the CFLA (see "CC/NE in the News" in the left column), and you can too: take a minute to email your Senator and to sign the petition.

 

December 22, 2005: The 2006 Nebraska Unicameral will begin its sixty day session on January 4.  It appears that Speaker Brashear is making every effort to move the CFLA reform bill ( LB188 ) from from last place on General File to the top of the list.  Brashear has put in writing his commitment to add a killer amendment that would eliminate the CFLA and open the flood gates to campaign spending.  Brashear has been the lawyer for two of the largest campaign over spenders, Regent Ferlic and Regent Hergert.  Wealthy men relish the idea of buying political offices but Common Cause Nebraska says NO!

 

With Regent Hergert facing a Grand Jury late in January and possible impeachment by the Unicameral resulting in part from CFLA violations, it would appear that the Speaker would like to help his former client.  If he were able to eliminate the statute it would undermine the the case against Hergert.  Once again we would ask the Speaker to back away from his conflict of interests and drop his attack on the CFLA.

 

October 29, 2005:  Common Cause Nebraska, in coalition with groups such as the Nebraska Appleseed Center and the League of Women Voters, supports the Campaign Finance Limitation Act (CFLA).  We believe that voluntary spending limits have served Nebraska well since 1996.  We are currently working to ensure that any efforts to reform CFLA will not create future loopholes that will, in effect, negate the original purpose of this legislation.

 

 

State Office
Common Cause/NE
7221 South St.
Suite 17
Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 476-9651

Issues Chair
Jack Gould
Valparaiso, NE
jhpinecrest@earthlink.net

State Chair
Charlotte Manton
Lincoln, NE
char7221@aol.com