Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb and auditor candidate Jane Skinner demanded Monday that Republican state Auditor Charlie Janssen resign after an investigation revealed he often comes to work late and spends time swilling beer in a sports bar instead of doing his job.
The Omaha World-Herald’s three-month investigation found that in the past month alone, over the course of 20 working days, Janssen was observed 10 times spending beer-drinking “lunches” — some more than three hours long — at Brewsky’s, a popular sports bar about 15 blocks south of the State Capitol.
“I do not do this lightly,” Kleeb said. “Charlie Janssen violated the pubic trust. He thumbed his nose at the people who put him in office and who he swore to serve — the people who are paying his salary.
“If Charlie Janssen’s staff had found similar wrongdoing by any other elected officials or government employee, he would be the one holding a news conference,” Kleeb said. “And throughout all this, Gov. Pete Ricketts, the leader the of the state Republican Party and the highest elected state official in Nebraska, has not uttered a peep. And for that I say ‘Shame of you, too, Mr. Governor.’ ”
Skinner echoed Kleeb’s sentiments.
“When voters elected Charlie Janssen as state auditor, they put their faith in him. The put their faith in him to be their watchdog and ferret out abuse and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money,” Skinner said. “Charlie Janssen took an oath and promised to do so. He has failed the the voters. He has failed his oath — his promise.
“Charlie Janssen should lose his job. He should step down. And if he does not, Nebraska voters should send him packing in November, Skinner said. “Inscribed in the limestone of this beautiful building are the words ‘The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.’
“Well, we’re watching Charlie, and we don’t like what we see,” Skinner said “Please do the right thing and resign.
For More Information:
Omaha World-Herald story: State auditor spends 3-hour lunches in sports bar, World-Herald investigation finds
“A three-month investigation by The World-Herald of State Auditor Charlie Janssen found a pattern of late-morning arrivals at his Capitol office, long lunches lasting up to three hours or more involving beer drinking, and little evidence that he was at the office in the afternoon.”
“In the past month, over the course of 20 working days, the newspaper observed the state auditor 10 times spending lengthy lunches at Brewsky’s, a popular sports bar about 15 blocks south of the State Capitol.”
“On five of those occasions, World-Herald reporters saw the auditor sharing pitchers of beer with a companion inside the tavern. Janssen and his companions were seen chatting and occasionally checking their cell phones. On most of the five occasions, at least two pitchers of beer were consumed.”
“The lunches often began between noon and 12:30 p.m. and sometimes ended as late as 3:45 p.m. or 3:55 p.m. Janssen then would get into his truck and drive away, not returning to the Capitol.”
Omaha World-Herald editorial: Editorial: With his behavior, State Auditor Charlie Janssen has shown a major failure of judgment
“If a mid-level state employee conducted himself in that fashion, there would be serious consequences. Janssen is a high-level official elected statewide, overseeing a major state agency, and he should be held to an even higher standard. ”
“That he didn’t realize this indicates a major lack of judgment. (Janssen’s casual approach to his work at the State Capitol goes back to his time in the Legislature, where his habits were frequently low-energy.)”
“Janssen needs to think through whether he should … step down from office.”