The Final Kickback

Yesterday Ben Nelson gave half a million dollars of his campaign war chest to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Commitee (DSCC).

Which was convenient.

Because we remember that immediately after Nelson signed on as the deciding vote for ObamaCare and signed off on the Cornhusker Kickback, the DSCC started running ads on Nelson’s behalf during the Husker’s bowl game. In the end the DSCC spent around $1.5 million on TV for Nelson in Nebraska — described as issue ads, as opposed to Nelson campaign ads.

Many Dems were angry (how about choo get back to us when you’re NOT angry, Dems) that the money had been spent on Nelson, then he went and dropped out of the race. Well, now Nelson is paying the DSCC back, and Nelson’s cash can be funneled to Bob Kerrey’s camp, via the DSCC. It’s like one big revolving cash waterfall, yeah? Nelson notes that they will be “making other refunds” and see what they have left for the DSCC.

Interesting way to put it since, again, all along the claim was that these were not “campaign” expenditures.

The NEGOP’s Mark Fahleson asked,

“Is this part of the secret deal Bob Kerrey admitted making to get him to enter the Senate race – a deal that Sen. Harry Reid now denies? What else was part of the deal, and what role did Sen. Ben Nelson play in all of this?”

Interesting questions all, Mark. Though we would suggest that you’re better off yelling into a desk fan out in the middle of a field in Keya Paha County, than hoping that the press will…press…Kerrey or Reid or Nelson on this.


And remember how when Big Apple Bob (nee Cosmic Bob) bragged that he made a deal with Harry Reid and that he made said deal only because it was “for the benefit of Nebraskans”.

Well, maybe Bob or Paul Johnson or an intrepid member of the media will ask Senator Arlen Specter about promises from Harry Reid, particularly regarding Senate seniority.

In a new book, Poltiico notes that Specter says that…

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not uphold his promise to grant him seniority accrued over 28 years of service in the Senate as a Republican (after Specter became a Democrat).

“Specter believes that Reid acted with “duplicity” while managing the party switch. Specter said Reid promised him that he would be recognized on the seniority list as a Democrat elected in 1980 but failed to deliver it.”

Now, we have already seen that Reid denies making any promise to Kerrey.

So to quote that ubiquitous phrase in his ad, Welcome back (to politics) Bob! Getting duped already, yeah? Let us know when you change your mind, again.


To close out the coverage from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender vote issues yesterday, we stand by our original info and source when told that Franklin Thompson was going to vote “Yes” on the ordinance. We received an irate response from one supporter who was not happy that we posted that before Thompson voted.

Be that as it may, Thompson’s behavior during the pre-vote discussion was…interesting to say the least. First Thompson asked for more information about the poll that was taken by Democrat operatives in favor of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender ordinance. But no matter who took the poll, we were a bit alarmed that immediately prior to the vote, Thompson was asking publicly, “Which way does the wind blow?” This sort of vote seems to be based on the language of the ordinance, and then on one’s personal positions regarding the issue as a whole. Yet Thompson wanted to find out more about a poll?

And then there was that little matter that it was a bogus, party driven, unevenly weighted, and admittedly one-sided, bullshit poll. So, REALLY Councilman Thompson? THAT was what you wanted more info on?

Follow that with the fact that Thompson was willing to vote Yes, if his amendment to take out the “appearance of Transgender” part was accepted, and we think we were pretty on-track — not to mention that our info was that Thompson was telling certain people before the vote what he had decided.

But such is the back and forth in political life. Thompson’s vote wasn’t needed in the end, and that may have made a difference as well. Or maybe not. But after all that, Thompson will no doubt have some explaining to do to constituents who care to ask.

We have heard from politicos who are ready to put this issue on the 2013 ballot as quickly as they can. But we would just offer a word of caution: if the failed Mayoral recall taught us anything, it is that an unorganized, splintered, leaderless group will get you nowhere. Especially when you are facing a well-organized group, who frankly will be snarling about this issue.

As we noted before, it has the potential to offer full employment for local politicos. (And maybe that is part of the problem.)


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And hey, even if you don’t buy Amazon stuff (and even if you do), please tell your friends and especially political enemies about Leavenworth Street! Spread the word, and let them know where to go for the talk of Nebraska politics. And you can tell them that you were here first.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Do you really think that KICKBACK is a good word to be using on this race considering Jon Bruning’s unexplained personal wealth, his lakehouse with Nelnet execs, and what else is about to come out about him?

  2. Unknonymous says:

    If we had an honest Attorney General, someone would be investigating how often Brunings “friends” at NELNET use that lake front property they bought “jointly.”

  3. KerreyforAlderman says:

    Looks like the hairy cross dressing kindergarten teachers are celebrating early. Got your Debbie Winger dress on yet?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Boy I hope the Hope and Change is as awesome under the new LGBT lawsuits as everything has been under Obama! Just think what Omaha could achieve!

  5. RWP says:

    Well, we can explain Bob Kerrey’s personal wealth; exploitation of cheap labor, often underage, without much in the way of benefits.

    And then about half a mill a year for running a left wing asylum disguised as a university.

    I’m not sure our Kerrey boosters really want to get into unsavory associations, either, because Bob had a couple, back in the days of the S&L disaster.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sooooo tired of LGBT issues. If you harm a business they can fire you. Heck if an restaurant can not serve for any reason then so too should a business be able to fire a person harming the business with their overt behavior. Don’t care what you don in the privacy of your home but if you are doing something that the owner finds disruptive to the business place, then you should be let go. Most people find the overt gay mannerisms to be unnerving, if so and then the customer doesn’t return to the business then the owner has been harmed by a behavior. So out you go.

  7. Macdaddy says:

    Is it because I’m a lesbian?

    So, when do I have to declare which team I’m playing for. Can I just jump back and forth? What’s the burden of proof? If I am a youth pastor at a church and I march in the gay pride parade with my “friend,” and the church fires me, what kind of burden of proof do they need? Oh, wait. I can’t get fired now? Sweet!

  8. Macdaddy says:

    Doesn’t Nelson have $3 million more? Look for the Dems to spend the whole lot in an attempt to lure Republican money to Nebraska in what will be an easy pickup for the GOP. The more money they spend here, the less they can spend elsewhere. The Dems are still plotting like it’s 2008.

  9. Liars says:

    I believe Bruning’s personal wealth has been covered by both of the “main” papers in this state last fall. Bruning’s been honest and forthright about his wealth, but some posters on this blog don’t care about the truth, or read the papers. They’d rather try to raise questions to further whatever candidate they are supporting that particular week.

  10. Has anyone here visited Congressman Adrian Smith’s Facebook page? When you see the photo he chose to represent himself with, all of you that laughed so hard about Scott Kleeb being a cowboy poseur should soil you B.V.D.s., or at least blow a Cheerio or two through your nose if you’re having breakfast! He’s doing his best Marlboro Man impersonation while sitting on somebody else’s feedlot fence. He’s got a big poop eatin’ grin and cowboy boots on, but one of the cows must have swiped his ten gallon hat!
    I don’t suppose his rental storage units are out there somewhere in the feedlot are they?

  11. Kickback? says:

    Get off Bruning’s back about the wealth already. Good for him that he’s been successful. And if we are going to talk about wealth lets not forget that Kerrey, Fischer and Stenberg are all millionaires too and yet nobody ever brings that up.

  12. Oh, bloody hell!
    I just checked out Adrian’s re-election website and there are TWO photos of him pretending to be Scott Kleeb! Then, if you go to the “multimedia” page, there is a video of him walking around farms, factories, etc. pretending that he knows anything at all about the things around him. He does this by looking into the distance and pointing at something. That’s one of Ben Nelson’s old tricks!
    As a veteran, it really pisses me off to see guys that never served wrapping themselves in the flag and rubbing elbows with veterans as though some of their glory might rub off on them.

  13. Kortezzi says:

    If the DSCC spent $1.5 mil. on ads for Ben Nelson, and Nelson only paid them back $0.5 mil., what about the other million bucks?

    Is the full $1.5 mil. being paid in 3 equal monthly installments, like a purchase on QVC?

    Or is Ben’s “campaign” going to buy McCook a $1 mil. bronze statue of himself?

    I hope it’s the latter. Pigeons of McCook need a good new place to poop.

  14. RWP says:

    C’mon, Brian. He’s wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and an undershirt on his website. I wear that sort of thing myself, and I’m not posing as anything. And he’s allowed to have the Scottsbluff National Monument in the background, since he lives in Gering.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Kickback, Bruning has never worked in the private sector. His income has ranged from $12K a year to $95K as a state senator and attorney general yet he has accumulated $20 million. This issue is not going away, Bruning has made a career on kickbacks and shady dealings, brokering off public policy to enrich himself.

  16. Political Scientist says:

    The Bruning issue was resolved last fall. It was a non-story then and still is a non-story. If the The really story is that this country is heading for financial armageddon and Jon Bruning is thecandidate who will lead in changing the country’s heading

  17. Political Scientist says:

    Anonymous 10:02, Jon has worked in the private sector. Remember state leg is only a part-time job. You need to get your facts straight and not just quote the line coming out the Stenberg, Fisher and Kerrey campaigns.

  18. @ anon 10:02 AM says:

    Bruning worked in the private sector, it has been covered by the OWH, the LSJ and its even on his wikipedia page. I suggest you get your facts straight and stop spreading lies.

  19. From The Bleachers says:

    Franklin Thompson is the reincarnation of Richard Takechi! He says he is going to vote one way and then votes against himself. Like Richard would sometimes do, Franklin’s own testimoney seemed to change his mind. I guess you’ll have to watch the weather report to understand Franklin’s votes. If a front passes through during the City Council meeting he is likely to change his mind.

    Franklin needs to go. And not just because of his latest actions. Is it too late to get in line to run against this guy? 12 years of wishy-washy unpredictable representation is too much.

  20. Anon says:

    better question when did Bruning stop working in the private sector? 1998? 2000? 2002? his wealth didnt seem to jump until he was the AG

  21. Political Scientist says:

    Anon why don’t you ask the same question of Don Stenberg, Deb Fisher or Bob Kerrey. Don Stenberg was the AG from 1990 to 2002 and somehow he is a millionare. Bob Kerrey started Prairie Life in Lincoln when he was Governor and he open his second Prairie Life in Omaha when he was a Senator. Remember that each one of these investments means job for Nebraskan. It was a non-story last fall and it is non-story today. We need to focus on the real issues that are facing the country. Jon is the candidate who is willing to tackle those issues and make the tough choices concern them.

  22. Anon says:

    also the issue isnt that hes rich, the implication is that he used his influence as AG to strong arm competitors and take kickbacks, nobody is faulting him for being rich

  23. RWP,
    Yeah, but I’ve seen your ugly mug on the UNL page and you pose with the tools of your trade, some kind of weird anal probe isn’t it? Why isn’t Adrian posing in front of his storage sheds instead of out in some feedlot? Maybe he wanted to show us his source for fresh ideas, he can scoop ’em up by the truckload.

  24. Political Scientist says:

    Anon 11:25 apparently you are faulting Jon providing job for Nebraskans. You have not asked the same question to Don Stenberg, Deb Fisher, and Bob Kerrey.

  25. Political Scientist says:

    Anon 1:01, you lack basic understanding of economics. Any investment creates jobs. Think before you make commits like that.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Someone posed the question earlier if the mayor can hire Samp back? Trouble is he probably never left and is on campaign retainer working under the new company name of “Prairie Strategies.” Ask Gary DiSylvestro–it keeps showing up in Suttle’s NADC report once they dropped their last company name of Clear Communications where Samp was his partner. Good of Jim to have Ben carry his water for the boys, no?

  27. Bob Kerrey says:

    Anon 1:39. I hate to rain on your paraded but I’m not Ryan Post. I don’t know who Ryan Post is. I’m just an average citizen who hate to see a good man like Jon Bruning attacked unfairly by bomb throwers like you.

  28. Anonymous says:

    So Deb Fischer is a millionaire……..hmmmm guess who is going to start getting calls for campaign contributions? She acts so tough like she is going to actually cut someones family jewels off, when in reality she grew up a spoiled little daddy’s girl…. and daddy was the director of roads……. then off to ranch in the million dollar business…….. not saying she hasn’t worked some but she has been in politics for a very long long time………

  29. GOOSE says:

    I see the Stenberg trolls are out again. Let’s talk about how we had a couple of very good candidates running for the job Stenberg SHOULD be doing right now. Guys who wanted that job for four years.

    It was a complete joke when only two weeks after being elected and well before being sworn in Don was already giving stump speeches at GOP events.

    The Stenberg trolls try to go after Bruning for being successful and having achieved friends but look in the mirror. Don has been about service to himself first and foremost for a long time. This is why he only finds support from outside of Nebraska now. Nebraska Repubs are tired of that act. And, this phony attempt to rebrand himself as “not part of the party, an outsider, the ‘Tea Party’ candidate” is laughable. Don has always been a party guy. It is just nobody in Nebraska wants to support him this go round.

    Give it up Sten Trolls!

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