Up, up and away

Recently, the OWH ran a story on members of the Unicameral having fundraisers during the legislative session.

Senator Bill Avery (who many have suggested was the inspiration for the dude from “Up”)  has been outspoken regarding how bad and horrible this practice is.  As a matter of fact, Avery has drafted legislation to stop this practice!  Says Avery:

“It’s too close to what we’re doing and when we’re doing it,” Avery said. “I’m not criticizing any particular individual. But it’s a practice we need a full discussion on.”


Avery said that he’s not accusing anyone of wrongdoing but that he believes the appearance of raising funds when passing legislation is poor.

Well, interesting point Senator Avery.

But is there really any difference between 1)  having some sort of meeting where you raise money or 2) just receiving a fundraising check during the session?

Because Senator Avery received $15,000 during the 2010 legislative session.

Fifteen grand.

Now, if Senator Avery thinks that is bad as well, we have not heard.

Avery is fighting hard to keep the joke of the law that is the Campaign Finance Limitation Act (CFLA), which has simply encouraged more outside, unaccountable groups to form.

We suppose that if Avery can just keep filling up his coffers, and then have others speak for him as well, all will be good for him. How convenient.


In the Senate race…

Deb Fischer announced her state co-chairs, including former Gov. Kay Orr and former Congressman John Y. McCollister;

Jon Bruning just had the Tea Party Express folks roll through Lincoln and Omaha giving him their endorsement.

Ben Nelson is deciding whether or not to support President Obama’s stimulus…again.


FWIW, the L. St. readers who cared to comment overwhelmingly preferred Rick Perry over Mitt Romney for the GOP Persidential nom.

You can continue to voice your views.


And thanks for buying your Amazon stuff (that you were going to buy anyway) via Leavenworth Street’s Amazon.com links (that don’t cost you anything more, but help to support L.St!).

And yes this is 10 straight (week)days of Leavenworth Street posts. We are trying to keep it rolling! Thanks for reading, and tell your friends!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Avery is often talking out of both sides of his…….! But he is loved by the elder members of the Legislature. Another question to ask is: How questionable is it that Avery receives donations from so many lobbyists at all? See his district includes the capitol and most of the lobbyist’s offices. So perhaps any bill of his could be amended to include a distance from the capitol to receive a contribution. I mean if they are going to put new lipstick on his pig of date (CFLA) then let’s dress her up all the way!

    Speaking of him receiving contributions, were any from those dirty, mean, overly influencing “Corporations”? Damn the C’s and their influence!!!

  2. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    This story doesn’t mention the significant recent CFLA decision, in which Accountability and Disclosure voted to stop enforcing the CFLA in its entirety. The existing disclosure rules would still apply to candidates, etc. (that’s a different law, and a good law). However, there’s now no mechanism for giving matching public funds to candidates who agree to abide by spending limts and are out-spent by non-abiding candidates. And, the spending and contribution limits themselves were deemed to be so bound up in the public funding mechanism as to be meaningless without it, so they aren’t being enforced either. The courts will determine whether this decision is correct.

    I have tried several times to repeal the CFLA, and I welcomed the recent Supreme Court decision which threw out a public funding scheme in AZ similar to ours, and brought about this current development. I don’t believe our current Legislature would have ever passed the CFLA, and I don’t see myself supporting any attempts to “fix” the CFLA next session.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Scott- So does this mean a candidate doesn’t need to file whether abiding or not?

    As it is all those who intend to run in 2012 had to declare abiding or not, if it is not being enforced then what?

  4. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    Not sure I understand both questions, but I’dsay you don’t need to declare whether you’re abiding or not. I’d check with accountability and disclosure to be sure (and they are very helpful, I’ve always found). But I don’t know how else to interpret what they decided to do.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where’s the coverage of Governor Heineman asking the federal government to deny the pipeline permit. No a convenient political news story here I guess. Why didn’t Heineman ask Gerard Harbison for his “scientific” input.

  6. Averysingleday says:

    Avery may be running the biggest whore house in town while at the same time presenting himself as the champion of the Civic Morality League. He takes this page from the playbook of Dr. Goebbles; i.e. if you are at risk of being seen a liar, make your lies bigger, wider and louder. People tend to mistake that for honest indignation.

    Thank you, Street Sweeper. Hold ‘em to account. For nothing stinks more than a hypocrite, with the exception of those who makes an entire career out of hypocrisy. Grab this pig by the snout and go for the oysters.

  7. Jordan McGrain says:

    Thank you for this post on Senator Avery’s double-talk regarding in-session fundraisers, Sweeper. One further point – Bill Avery last year argued that the CFLA effectively minimized the possibility of a candidate “bought and paid for” by special interests in favor of “citizen candidates” supported by the hard-earned $25 and $50 contributions from “average voters.”

    His ideal for campaign funding is not only unpracticed and unfeasible for candidates in general; it was, again, not even practiced by Senator Avery. Of the $64,152 Senator Avery raised for reelection last cycle, 75% came from special interests writing checks of $250 or more.

    And in fact, Senator Avery’’s “”citizen candidate”” opponent Nancy Russell, whose campaign actually was funded by $25 contributions last year, failed to raise more than $5,000 total was defeated by Senator Avery 66% to 34%.

    Just another example of Bill Avery’s obvious hypocrisy on this issue. Why some in the media continue to cite Avery as some pious defender of the public good on this issue is a mystery.

  8. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    Anon 11:55– re-read your second question. I don’t know what happens if you’ve already elected to abide or not, and then the law is suddenly not being enforced. I’d assume it doesn’t matter, but I’d ask A & D.

    And, thank you Sweeper for touching on one of my favorite topics with ths posting –but isn’t it kind of “inside baseball” compared to the pipeline? (lol)

  9. Anonymous says:

    I suppose some of the local media is in agreement with Avery.

    Of course there may be another way to articulate this but then again who will ever really know?

  10. Kortezzi says:

    Avery is the Bernie Sanders of Nebraska politics. His ideas are always from the farthest edge of the liberal fringe.
    Until Ernie Chambers returns to the Unicam, that is! Thanks Brenda, for keeping his seat warm.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Bill Avery picked up where Diana Schimek left off and anything on campaign regs coming from either of them has been bad. Correct, he has his hand out just like everyone else for the campaign donations while appearing to be above it all. The worst part is the Republican majority in the Legislature elected Avery as Chairman of the Government Committee over a conservative Republican. Thanks folks, for giving Sen. Avery a boost to pursue inane campaign and election revisions. They only have themselves to thank for it. I don’t know what deal went down that Avery got the committee chairmanship but it stinks and the Repubs did it. So helpful.

  12. Sour Grapes says:

    Jordan, why start now posting under your real name?? Your whole issue with Avery is you ran someone against him and got worked.

    How about addressing what “your” stance is now that the gov wants the pipeline to change its route.

    What too busy trying to bail bruning out?? “Let’s give Bruning a cell!!”, as in a jail cell, should be the new slogan. I think it would look good on a key chain.

    I would be scrambling to get your “plan b” ready to run against Ben if I was you. Just sayin E,D,

  13. Anonymous says:

    Jordan McGrain and Scott Lautenbaugh both seen posting in the same place. Hmm. So which one of you got to be Street Sweeper for the day? Shelly?

  14. Hamstrung by RHINO's says:

    Avery got to where he is because the legislature lack courage. If Nebraska had a two house system the weak in the knees crowd would have to answer to a Whip. Then you wouldn’t see Urban Affairs, Government, Retirement, and of course Labor and Labor being run by Liberal Democrats. But since this state has one house and the ” Secret” ballot all is for naught. Just ask Sen Pirch, who was booted from Judiciary, or Sen Gloor who was spanked in his run for Retirements, or Sen Price who lost to McGill, or even worse yet how Sen Krist was obliterated by Avery…….. No boys and girls you have what you have and you just have to deal with it. Oh not to mention a Governor who can’t make a decision without looking where the bodies are. Case in point, the 11th hour “Decision” on a pipeline. Lots of guts on that one.

    So Jordan what are you going to do about those RHINO’s? ………….chirp ….chirp………thought so.

  15. RWP says:

    I debated Avery at a student forum after one of the 2004 presidential debates. With all due modesty, I kicked his ass. He had some sort of bee in his bonnet about global warming, which is all well and good, but don’t debate global warming with a physical chemist if you don’t know any science.

    The audience was packed with Young Democrats, but by about half way through, they had gotten very quiet. Afterwards, several of them came up to me and thanked me for pointing out some things they hadn’t thought of before. Mission accomplished.

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