State Senator Charged For Campaign Finance Violations
Attorney General: "I do believe she has a gambling problem"
Attorney General: "I do believe she has a gambling problem" Video by kmtv.comvideo
Lincoln, NE -- Attorney General Jon Bruning filed serious charges against State Senator Brenda Council on Wednesday. The two misdemeanor charges are for abuse of public records for failing to report expenditures out of her campaign account. Attorney Generals office began digging into the State Senator's records after receiving a tip from law enforcement. Despite the charges, Senator Brenda Council of Omaha says she's not dropping out of the race for District 11.
State Senator Brenda Council isn't fighting the charges filed by Attorney General Jon Bruning. The AG explains, "We're charging her with two counts of abuse of public records for using campaign dollars at casinos."
Investigators claim Council spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" at casinos. Bruning reports between January 2012 and July 2012 there were $63,052.52 in unreported expenditures and $36,166.32 in unreported/prohibited deposits that were made. "The amount gambled - this was not the only money she used to gamble she used her own personal finances," adds Bruning.
Senator Brenda Council says she's sorry. She says, "There was no malicious intent on my part. I borrowed the money with every intention to pay it back and have paid back the bulk of the money I borrowed. I am in the process of paying back the remaining amount. It will all be paid back."
"At the point at which someone is using their campaign funds that's quite an extraordinary act and so it seems to me that she does have a gambling problem," says Jon Bruning.
Council says, "I'm currently receiving professional treatment for a gambling addiction".
What she is fighting for is to be re-elected to the Unicameral. Running against her is former State Senator Ernie Chambers. Chambers tells Action 3 News he's known Brenda since she was a girl. He says he "regrets this happened" and calls the situation "very distressing".
The Attorney General feels the two charges are fair, he says, "I don't take Senator Council's long distinguished career lightly, and so I wanted this office wanted to be very very careful."
It's important to note, Council is not in trouble for using the money to gamble, the charges are because she failed to report it. Brenda Council will be in court next Tuesday, and is expected to plead guilty. The penalty carries a six month sentence and/or a $1,000 fine.
Reported By: Liz Dorland, firstname.lastname@example.org