Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states: 5th

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The story behind the score

Nebraska’s culture of open government puts it near the top of the State Integrity Index. But the close relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists concerns critics. Read more from SII State Reporter Kevin O’Hanlon.

Latest state news for Nebraska

State integrity news for Nebraska, from the Lincoln Journal Star:

Common Cause Nebraska has presented a persuasive case for improving state laws requiring disclosure on lobbying expenses and campaign contributions. The watchdog group noted that special interest groups spent at least $14 million last year trying to influence Nebraska’s state government.

But the figures on lobbying expenses are incomplete, often unclear and possibly misleading.

Read the rest of the story at the Lincoln Journal Star.

As Bill Avery walked through the Nebraska State Capitol, he began to spot a lot of familiar faces.

The state senator recognized the visitors as his wife’s coworkers at an insurance company, who had come to lobby on a bill on that day’s agenda.

Avery scrambled to file a conflict of interest form with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. As his colleagues filed their votes, Avery abstained. After the bill passed some of Avery’s fellow lawmakers asked him why he sat out the process. When he explained his circumstance some legislators told Avery that what he’d done was noble, while others argued that it wasn’t a conflict at all, and he should have voted anyway.

Looking back on that vote, which occurred a few years ago when the retired University of Nebraska professor was still a freshman in the legislature, Avery says he would still “rather err on the side of caution.” But he also wants to get rid of the confusion and lack of oversight when it comes to legislative conflicts of interest.

Corruption news for Nebraska, from the Lincoln Journal Star:

A state lawmaker wants to end the practice of state agencies getting free tickets to University of Nebraska football games and other events in return for buying radio advertising on the Husker Sports Network.

Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery's bill (LB758) would preclude state agencies or employees from taking free or discounted tickets to any state-run facility or event.

A 2010 investigation by State Auditor Mike Foley's office revealed that state agencies were spending $1 million a year advertising on the Husker Sports Network. The company in turn bought about $100,000 worth of tickets one year and gave them away as gifts and incentives to state officials and employees.

Read the rest of the story at the Lincoln Journal Star.

Corruption news for Nebraska, from the Lincoln Journal Star:

Employees of the agency that runs the state lottery received free meals, movie tickets and other perks from companies that were awarded contracts to operate its online games and scratch tickets, a state audit found.

Auditors determined that nothing illegal occurred at the state lottery, which is operated by the Nebraska Department of Revenue, but they raised concerns about "excessive socializing" between vendors and Revenue Department officials who award lottery contracts.

Read the rest of the story at the Lincoln Journal Star.

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