Who paid for the Cornhusker Kickback?

Well, new news on the Cornhusker Kickback! You thought it went away? Oh, it will never go away…

But we’re using the term “Cornhusker Kickback” to describe the entire process of Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson’s vote for ObamaCare just before Christmas of 2009.

Now you may remember, but let’s go back to that chilly Saturday of December 19th, 2009…

Ben Nelson decided to vote for ObamaCare — after he said he’d been listening to Nebraskans who didn’t want it. But something convinced him to back his Democrat President and Democrat colleagues.

One thing was the promise of a Cornhusker Kickback on Medicaid only for Nebraska.

But the other thing was cover for his vote.
Political cover.
Political cover in the way of TV ads.

And then you saw the TV ads, most clearly during the Holiday Bowl on December 30th when the Huskers beat Arizona.

Here it was:

And while it’s a little fuzzy in this version, you can see at the end that the ad was Paid for by the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Well, not really.

You see, the Nebraska Democrats may have made the initial layouts for that ad and for the ones forthcoming in January. But the real money came from some where else.

Where?

Well, the Hotline on Call tells us:

On Jan. 11, just after the Senate voted on Christmas Eve to pass the bill, the DNC transferred $809K to the NE Dem Party, according to reports filed with the FEC. A month later, on Feb. 11, the DNC transferred another $169K to the party.

Wait, what was the cost?

NE Dems used the money to run ads defending Nelson’s reputation. The state party bought $779K in airtime in Jan., enough to blanket the state with pro-Nelson ads for weeks at a time. The party spent about $95K to produce those ads with Dixon/Davis Media Group.

Wait but couldn’t the Nebraska Democrats have just paid for the ads on their own?

Uh, no.

The money was a huge influx for the NE Dem Party, which historically hasn’t been a major fundraising powerhouse. The party raised just $190K during ’09, according to FEC reports, and only $206K during ’08. Aside from the DNC transfer, the state party has only raised $29K this year.

Now that alone should tell you that Nelson had to have been offered the cover of these ads right around the time negotiations went down. (You’ll remember his hug to Senator Barbara Boxer to seal the deal.)

Sure he didn’t see the blow up over the Cornhusker Kickback coming. He thought he would be praised for that deft move.

No, he knew that Nebraskans wanted him to vote “No”.

So he got the cover from the national party to give him the funds to make these ads happen.

Oh, and by the way:

We have it on good account that feelers went out long before the Holiday Bowl to be sure that air time was available on ESPN for the spots.

When?

Round about December 19th.

The day Nelson decided to vote with President Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Quid pro quo? You be the judge, kids.

All we can say is that the Balgojevich trial was based on quid pro quo offers.

And it didn’t even have a catchy moniker.

***

Oh, and by the way

“ …a new state study that estimated federal health care reform will saddle Nebraska with $526 million to $766 million in unfunded Medicaid costs over the next decade.”

Well, how about that.

Who woulda thunk it?

50 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    So, if you do the math, not only did the NDP take the money from their National Party, the also got paid $104,000 for their troubles?

    Between Sugar Daddy Dick and Pappa Vic, Jane Kleeb is rolling in old white guy money!

    I wonder if it makes her feel dirty, at all?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of, any insider trading from the "big F'ing deal" All Chambers meeting in Ashland today?

    How was Ben feeling by lunchtime?

    I'm thinking that the Gov handed him his ass and then kicked it again!

  3. Right Wing Professor says:

    Nice piece of work, Sweeper. If the GOP takes over the Senate, wnich looks increasingly likely, there need to be some hearings on this. Looks like bribery, plain and simple.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There will be lot's of "Hearings" started in Jan 2011.

    Ben Nelson better find an island to go to, maybe Venezuela has room for him, along with Ried and Pelosi.

    I hear the mood at the lunch today was pretty dark. The guest speaker kept refering to the November elections!

    I heard there was a comment made by State Senator McGill about the Immigration issues and State vs Federal responsibilities. Didn't play too well from what I was told. Seemed the Senator was trying to slam the Arizona Law.

    I wish I could have been there to watch Ben squirm around. I hope there is a video of the comments and questions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Corruption charges would be a fitting end to the political career of the man whose conduct got Nebraska taxpyers socked with a $200 million judgment based on a Federal judge saying Ben acted in bad faith. Good point that there's little difference between Ben and Blago. Except Blago stood trial. Can't wait for Ben's turn.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I thought the kickback involved Medicaid not Medicare.

    The CYA ads I don't feel did any good except to annoy those that saw them,give reason for a potty or snack break and convince any doubters that burnt toast Ben made his political career as a waffle.

    Ben has been pulling this stuff for so long, but this time he was outed when all the cameras focused on him. Now he's exhausting himself in the art of backpeddling and few to none care.

    Bruning is smart to position early and don't doubt for a second he isn't.

    It's been interesting Ben, but see ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

  7. Uncle Wiggily says:

    Excellent job of connecting dots, Sweeper. Not that most of us are surprised, either at your reportorial skills or at Ben's treachery.

    Maybe you should send this on over to LJS … bet they'll print it …bwahahahahahahahaha

    Good job.

    UW

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nelson is the worst kind of politician. Behind that sweet flabby grin of his, is deeply a disturbed, amoral, borderline individual. A creepy guy at a level you cannot imagine.

    But he isn't stupid. Nelson made a career out of bending NE voters over, giving them what for, and then gets them to thank him for it.

    You think its different now?

    Never underestimate the political stupidity of the Nebraska voter.

  9. GeosUser says:

    If you're a Democrat and you get a lot of negative coverage featured in a PBS Frontline special on passage of Obamacare, you really are in the deep doo-doo. If the PBS liberals hate your guts and demonstrate it by outing you, then you have no support on either side. This latest info just seals the deal that Benator will be retiring in 2012. Great reporting Sweeper.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Republican Party is bankrolled by the biggest polluters, profiteers, tobacco companies, and the most irrehenible special interests, and you're going to complain about the DNC transferring money to the NDP? Really? The RNC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil industry, health insurance barons, and the military industrial complex.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not to change the subject when you're on a roll here but where is Jane Kleeb and her kids at BN on the 8,000 gallon ethanol spill at Wood River, just down the road from Camp Happy Kleeb? What will they say when it's the lifeblood of NE corn production that is spilled, not the nasty tar sands oil they like to screech about. Could put the BN kids between a rock and a hard place when it comes to attacking ethanol. Don't hold your breath for them to flash mob some ethanol plants since there is one right in Jane's backyard at Hastings.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You dem trolls don't get it at all. How can you be so obtuse? The issue isn't that the national party gave money to the local party. The issue is that the timing of it all makes it ckear that there was a quid pro quo for his vote. That's the same kind of thing that Rod Blagojevich just stood trial for.

  13. the driven snow says:

    Boy, it sure looks like this kind of "we will offer you cover" back home strategy happens all the time to help sway votes. The tobacco industry did it to help the NE Republican delegation justify thier vote against a tobacco tax increase last year to cover kids health insurance. Perhaps that should be investigated as well. Lee do you remember that night?Might also look into the Big Red Keno check that went to Suttle and Thompson as a thank you for exempting them from the Omaha smoking ban. I am glad to see the Republicans wanting to see some true campaign finance reform.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So Sweeper has uncovered a possible instance of a politician getting something in return for a particular vote or action. Shocking!

    Speaking of getting a kickback – Let's put together the dates of the "hold me closer tiny" Governor endorsement by the Nebraska teachers union and his decision to give them all of our stimilus money for pay raises. I am guessing sweeper won't be spending as much time on that analysis.

  15. Anonymous says:

    8:34. Do Democrats have to pass a stupid test to join?

    It isn't about transfer of money. It is about Ben Nelson PERSONALLY taking a million bucks worth of ads for himself in return for his vote.

    Those ads don't help Nebraskans. They don't help other Democrats. They help only Ben Nelson.

    Pork, when take for one’s self, isn't pork but rather Quid Pro Quo.

    Nelson was okay with his fake kickback for Nebraskans (which no Nebraskan got). It was Nelson taking a million bucks in ads for himself that puts his butt in the legal wringer.

    Think about it. He had to ask for that million for himself. He had to engineer it through the NDP. He had to okay the ads. He had to arrange it. In effect, he used the NDP.

    Once again, Nelson has bent over Nebraska Democrats, like he bent over every other Nebraskan, and pounded them for his own pleasure.

    Nelson belongs to the Nelson Party.

    A regular real Democrat would be a breath of fresh air compared to Ben Nelson.

  16. Uncle Wiggily says:

    OK … sumbuddy's gonna have to 'splain to me what in the hairy-legged hell a "irrehenible special interest" is.

    I'm just an old flatlander – I don't grok this newfangled pol-speak.

    UW

  17. Oh mander says:

    Anon 9:14

    No one is talking about the ethanol spill because it is ETHANOL!!! I don't expect you to know much about the science involved, so think of it as spilling a really big Budweiser Tall Boy.

  18. Macdaddy says:

    Ethanol is toxic to the environment as well, especially in that amount. You can see for yourself. Try a minnow shot. The fish is dead before it hits the back of your throat.

  19. Oh mander says:

    And just to play devil's advocate here, I'd like to point out that just because the Democrats chose to defend their own guy doesn't mean that Ben asked for it. Parties tend to protect their own.

    Last Christmas I didn't ask for anything, and yet a bunch of gifts just showed up under my tree.

  20. Oh mander says:

    Mac – Yeah it must be real toxic if you're drinking it. Take a shot of oil and let me know how that works out for you.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Good grief, Mander, figure it out. This isn't just happy money that just magically appeared. The timing and circumstances suggest that E Ben had to have had a hand in it. The spot were purchased, according to SS, before the fateful vote.

  22. angus says:

    Sweeper, what "kickback" you talking about? I'm a Nebraskan but I didn't get no kickback. Nelson got his $900,000 in ads. What did you get?

    Nelson promised he would rob every taxpayer in America and split up the loot among us Nebraskans. He got his. Nuthin for us.

    Nelson is a bushwacking polecat. When he comes back to the hideout, lets truss em up like a hog and sell em south to the Mexicans.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The Republican party is so screwed, the Selfish Generation, the children of the baby boom generation and also known as baby boomers, are retiring and will all be voting Democrat soon enough. In the late 60s they were all voting liberal to save their asses from the draft, then in the 80s they reached their high income earning ages and voted Republican. Mark my words, the selfish generation will be voting to entitle themselves in their golden years.

  24. Grundle King says:

    Oh mander wrote: "Last Christmas I didn't ask for anything, and yet a bunch of gifts just showed up under my tree."

    Boy I'm glad you used a Christmas analogy, because it's going to make this a whole lot easier…

    So you say you didn't ask for anything, and these gifts just showed up, right? Well, actually, they didn't just show up, but some people gave them to you, right? So, just out of curiosity, did you give those people any gifts? I ask because that's ypically that's how things are done around Christmas. If you didn't, I wouldn't count on too many of those same people giving you any gifts in the future.

    And that's truly a parallel to the health care vote situation. The Democratic party gave Ben and the NDP a "gift" in the form of a large donation, and Ben gave the Democratic party a "gift" in the form of a vote for cloture on health care reform. Ah, what a Merry Christmas…errr, happy holiday it must have been in the Reid, Pelosi, and Nelson households.

    Tis apparently better to give AND receive.

  25. Right Wing Professor says:

    Not to change the subject when you're on a roll here but where is Jane Kleeb and her kids at BN on the 8,000 gallon ethanol spill at Wood River, just down the road from Camp Happy Kleeb?

    They're running to the store to get drinking straws.

  26. Right Wing Professor says:

    Going by the LD50, ethyl alcohol is at least twice as toxic as heavy oil.

    If you're as old as I am, you might remember being dosed with liquid paraffin as a child, to solve certain, ahem, mobility problems.

  27. Sue E. says:

    angus 4:13,

    If that's really what you want to do, you can have your shot at it in Lexington, out in Dawson County, when Sen. Cornhusker Kickback is scheduled as the keynote speaker at a Democratic steak fry there tomorrow afternoon.

    If you want to eat, they'll let you in for $15.00. If you just want to wear a black garbage bag and roll around in the street acting like a fool, just show up at the District 22 Event Center located at Roads 431 and 759 west of Lexington, north of Hwy 30. That's about a mile west and three north of Lexington.

    You can truss up a whole herd of them – Mike Meister, Rebecca Davis, Janet Stewart, Mark Stoj and Sen. 'What the Hell Is That Thing Growing on His Head?' will all be there.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ethanol Spill–heaven forbid. Ethanol supporters and producers make no mistakes. I'm a dem who is not and will never be in support of this industry. It is proving to be the demise of the rural economy. Just ask all those who "invested" their earned equity dollars in the failed plants, or in plants that cater to the large farmers controlled by the corn and renewable fuels folks.
    I'm sure the Kleeb's aren't on site in Wood River, can't bite the hands that fed and feed you!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Did anybody see Tom White in the Arrows to Aerospace Parade in Bellevue? There were reports of Ian being in the crowd but…….

    Tom must be waiting to blanket the airwaves with adds, TV and Radio. Otherwise where is he. And hey why isnt White saying anything about Suttle and the tax hikes? Hmmmmm must be White is ok with tax hikes for the citizens of Omaha!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Man, all those protests we did at Nelson's office. Week after week. We should have just taken up a collection. I think I know enough rich conservatives — we should have just bought him off.

  31. Fremont Fiscal Conservative says:

    This is from the City of Fremont webpage

    Based on estimates developed with input from Kris Kobach, the attorney defending the ordinance, the City Administrator is recommending that the City Council budget $750,000 for the 2010/2011 budget, raising the overall property tax rate by about 5.8 mills. This would mean an average tax increase of $116 per year on a $200,000 home. If estimates prove to be high, any excess would be returned to the taxpayers by adjusting the 2011/2012 mill levy.

    This pisses me off. The leaders in Fremont, including Good Time Charlie Janssen, knew this bill was unconstitutional but still pushed it forward to make a statement that Fremont was R, not for Republican but for Racist. I get to pay higher taxes now so Charlie Janssen can make a name for himself and run for Governor.

  32. I supported Osborne says:

    Fremont F.C., You're not being fair to Charley Janssen. Charley pushed the bigot agenda because he's a good team player. Heinneman has discovered that pandering to the anti-Mexican crowd is political gold.

    Charley knows the next governor of Nebraska is going to be the present Lt. Gov., Rick Sheehy. Sheehy will become Gov. when Heinneman goes to the Senate in two years. As a team player Charley will be supporting incumbent Governor Sheehy for reelection in 2014. He'll probably even sponsor another bigot bill in two years to whip up some extra votes for the Grand Old Party.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I love it when Democrats eat their own. I mean, seriously Mayor Suttle, you were on the freaking city council. You know, you were part of the gubment and everything. You were almost a vital cog in the machine of Omaha. Maybe you could have, oh, I don't know, asked a question about the finances or something like that.

    Anyhoo, get back to your cat fight with Fahey. At least he got his name on a street. All you'll get is a name on a recall petition.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody tell me if Ian Russell is running for Congress? Apparently Tom White can't be bothered to interrupt his Saturday morning golf game to make it to a parade honoring Bellevue and our greater Air Force community.

    In addition, how come TW NEVER speaks for himself? Is that because he wants to lie to the public and say that he never took a position on a subject?

    Come on out and play Tommie Boy.

  35. One Out In The Third says:

    Sheeshy??? We are hard up for goobernatorial candidates in Nebraska. He's about as much a do-nothing cheerleader as Heineman. Heineman picked him so he…Heineman…would look good…same reason Obama picked Biden.

    Good thing the football season starts soon…a diversion from politics.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I supported Osborne too, and it amazes me how Heinemann, now doesn't want the Hispanic crowd in his corner. It's what put him over the top in the third when he ran again Osborne. Oh wait that was the sugar company, not Heinamann..

  37. Anonymous says:

    OMGWTF! Chuck Hagel, puke, puke, puke! You've got to be kidding me.

    Sweeper did his analysis of the quid pro quo on Nelson's Obamacare vote. Permit me to speculate on another quid pro quo involving another turncoat Nebraska politician.

    We all know Robert Gates has announced he wants to retire from his post as Sec'y of Defense next year. And it had been widely speculated that Chuck Hagel wants the job.

    Well, I guess we've now found out what the Obama regime set as at least the partial price for getting the job (hey, wasn't Rod Blagojevick recently prosecuted for trying to sell a political appointment?)

    Chuck Hagel has now endorsed Dem Joe Sestak in a highly contested Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. (And Chuck has a dog in that fight how?)

    Chuck, you political slut. You'd sell your grandma to advance your political career. As though there weren't already enough reasons that Chuck Hagel makes us sick, he's now gone and given us another.

    What a tool.

  38. Shoe Salesman says:

    Breaking News – Democrats pay for ads defending democrats on health care. Wow Sweeper you've outdone yourself. And imagine that – all if it reported out in the open even. Wow.

    Now, all of you complining you didn't get your kickback – huh? I thought you didn't want your kickback – if you did – talk to Deficit Dave in Lincoln. I bet he's wondering why he turned down hundreds of millions in free federal dollars now that he has a billion dollar deficit to address – oh right he wont address it – he'll just let it get worse and blame everyone else for it.

    If it's Obama's economy after 2 years shouldn't it be Dave's budget after 6?

    and to the anon who says neslon got money "personally." You are dangerous and stupid or dangerously stupid. keep away from sharp objects lest you hurt yourself.

  39. Grundle King says:

    Shoe Salesman…that's certainly an interesting, albeit incredibly naive, take on the situation. To you, it looks like the DNC just paid for advertising…to the rest of us living in reality, it looks like the DNC paid for a vote for health care reform. Ben knew Nebraskans opposed HCR, and knew that voting for it would hurt him…so he wasn't about to vote for it unless he knew the DNC was coming to bat for him.

    If you can't see anything wrong with political parties dishing out money to get their members to vote a certain way, then there's truly no hope for you.

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