Deena Winter: Nebraska Watchdog, 1/05/2012
Attorney General Jon Bruning responded today to criticism and legislation targeting his doling out of grants from settlement funds in what Democrats have called political gifts.
Democrats have criticized Bruning’s $100,000 grant to an offshoot of the Nebraska Farm Bureau during its annual convention in December. Bruning gave the check to a three-month old group called We Support Agriculture, which the Farm Bureau and other groups formed to counteract negative portrayals of farming by animal rights’ activists. Some Democrats questioned the grant, saying it appeared to be timed to curry favor with the politically powerful Farm Bureau while Bruning is running for the U.S. Senate.
In response, two Democratic senators proposed bills Wednesday that would take the grant money out of the attorney general’s hands and give the Legislature more say in how it is spent. Sen. Heath Mello’s bill would divert the money to Nebraska schools. Sen. Ken Haar’s bill would send environmental settlement funds to the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund and consumer protection settlement funds would be subject to legislative review.