Fri | Dec 9, 2016

Nebraska bill would change campaign disclosure requirement

Published:Monday | February 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM

NEBRASKA (AP):

Politicians who use campaign money illegally could have a harder time hiding their violations under a bill that will go before Nebraska lawmakers this week.

The measure would change a rule that allows candidates and office-holders to self-report the amount of money in their campaign accounts.

Supporters said the bill might have helped officials catch former state Senator Brenda Council earlier, before she gambled away $63,000 in campaign money. It is set for a hearing Thursday before the government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Council, of Omaha, was sentenced to three years of criminal probation in 2013 and fined US$500 after pleading guilty to a federal wire fraud charge. She also was fined US$500 after pleading guilty to two state misdemeanour charges that she filed false campaign finance reports, and the Nebraska Supreme Court removed her law license.

The bill would require candidates to file end-of-year campaign bank account balances with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Doing so would give state investigators the chance to compare each candidate's bank account with the amount that was self-reported.