The Nebraska Republican Party and several GOP state senators and legislative candidates have been caught playing hide-the-ball regarding more than $112,000 in contributions from the party
The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission on July 1 sent a letter to the Nebraska GOP questioning the party’s reporting of the contributions as “in-kind” — meaning they were made in coordination with the candidates and had to be reported by the campaigns under state law.
The letter, from NADC Executive Director Frank Daley, Jr., to the GOP, said: ”A review of the primary election campaign statements filed by the Nebraska Republican Party discloses that the party made one or more in-kind contributions of more than $250” to several campaigns, which failed to report the gifts.
After the letter was sent, the GOP amended their report to say the contributions were “independent expenditures” — which do not have to be reported by the campaigns.
The GOP previously reported that 13 Republican state senators and candidates received in-kind contributions from the party, but only one has reported it as required by law.
In the original filing with the NADC, covering the current election cycle through June, the GOP reported 61 separate in-kind contributions totalling more than $116,000. These contributions were made to 13 separate Republican senators and candidates for Legislature. But only one contribution was reported among the recipients. A full breakdown is found in the table below.
The recipients of the contributions included current state Sens. Mike Hilgers, Joni Albrecht, Bruce Bostelman, Julie Slama, LouAnne Linehan, Andrew LaGrone and John Lowe. The recipients also included Republican candidates Jacob Campbell, Brenda Bickford, Lisa Lee, Rick Holdcroft, Ray Aguilar and Rita Sanders. The contributions given to each senator or candidate ranged from small donations to thousands of dollars to one state senator who received well over $66,000.
It is worth noting that Sen. LouAnn Linehan did accurately report the in-kind contributions she received. She reported $3,895 from the Nebraska Republican Party on April 20 of this year for a mailing. This is what all the other senators and candidates should have done. But, as it stands, only one of 61 contributions were reported, meaning that these Republican senators and candidates hid a whopping 97 percent of the contributions that were made by the Nebraska Republican Party.
“Republican elected officials and candidates for office have been caught showing a complete disregard for the law,” said NDP Chair Jane Kleeb. “The significance, scope and severity of these violations paint a picture of a consistent and prevalent pattern of negligent behavior that absolutely should not be tolerated.
“The NADC did its job flagging these blatant violations of our campaign-finance laws,” Kleeb said. “Some, such as Sen. Slama have even doubled down as if they have done nothing wrong. My question is this: What are they trying to hide? Clearly Sen. LouAnn Linehan understood the law, as she accurately reported the contributions. Why was she the only one to do so?”
|Nebraska Republican Party – Reported In-Kind Contribution Totals by Senator and Candidate|
|Legislative District||Senator/Candidate||Total Reported by NE Republican Party||Amount Reported by Senator/Candidate|
|37||Senator John Lowe||$25.74||$0.00|
|49||Senator Andrew LaGrone||$171.72||$0.00|
|39||Senator LouAnn Linehan||$3,437.90||$3,895.00|
|21||Senator Mike Hilgers||$5,451.11||$0.00|
|17||Senator Joni Albrecth||$9,808.48||$0.00|
|23||Senator Bruce Bostelman||$11,460.00||$0.00|
|1||Senator Julie Slama||$66,012.69||$0.00|