Looks like the two top conservatives in our state just got caught doing something illegal. Governor Heineman and Attorney General Bruning both returned illegal campaign contributions from TransCanada, the foreign company that wants to build a risky pipeline through the Sandhills and Ogallala aquifer.


Wimp Wednesday


Once called out for it, what was Heineman and Bruning’s reason for returning the money?  They didn’t know it was illegal.

Hilarious.  Let’s try: they got caught.

Both men have been involved in politics since they got out of diapers and have been filing Nebraska campaign reports for years.  They know the laws, and if they really don’t, well that raises lots more questions on their ability to lead.

Bold Nebraska, Common Cause and several other groups in Nebraska raised the question of contributions from TransCanada several months ago and have mentioned it to reporters each time we met with them on this topic.

Over the past several months, Nebraska Watchdog, Omaha World Herald, Lincoln Journal Star — along with several national and international papers and blogs — covered the fact that Heineman and Bruning took money from TransCanada.  From our perspective, raising the obvious question, “Is TransCanada buying favor with at least the top two elected officials in Nebraska?”

However, it wasn’t until the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission highlighted the fact that money was ILLEGAL because it came from a foreign company that they returned the money.

So, hats off to Frank Daley — head of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission — for doing his job, crossing his t’s and doting his i’s.  We like to see public servants enforcing regulations.  

A few questions for our Bold readers and the legal eagles out there: we know from newspaper reports during construction of the first TransCanada pipeline that TransCanada gave communities money for projects (we say in order to earn favor with local elected leaders).  So, is this money illegal also?  Is it legal for a foreign company to pay a consulting firm to lobby our state elected leaders?  What about the party that TransCanada threw for State Senators last year in Lincoln, was that illegal?  What about donations from TransCanada in 2007, 2008 and 2009 or to other candidates or their PACs this year?

We still have lots of questions and we will continue to dig for answers in order to keep elected officials accountable, we hope you join us.