Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Degenerate Regent(s)

by Kyle Michaelis
The AP reports:
University of Nebraska Regent David Hergert admitted violating state campaign finance laws and agreed to pay a record-high fine, under terms of a settlement made public Friday.

Hergert will pay $33,512.10 in fines to the state, but will not face criminal prosecution. The state's Accountability and Disclosure Commission agreed to the terms of the settlement with Hergert.

While the fine is a "serious indictment" on Hergert's behavior, state Sen. Chris Beutler of Lincoln said the regent "got off the hook" by escaping any criminal
charges. "From Mr. Hergert's perspective, I'm sure he considered his purchase of the regent's seat cheap," Beutler said....

The commission determined that Hergert accepted a campaign loan in violation of state law, failed to timely report a late contribution and failed to timely file two affidavits.

Hergert's not reporting how much he spent on his campaign in a timely fashion resulted in [his opponent] being shut out of collecting thousands of dollars in
matching state funds.
Today's Journal-Star ran an editorial that at least gave these despicable actions the attention they deserve, declaring "One troubling aspect of the case is that candidates without shame may look at the facts of the case and conclude that the cost-benefit ratio favors violating the law."

The World-Herald, on the other hand, sweeps its scolding under the rug as a tiny "Furthermore" note. Pathetic considering on April 7, they devoted an entire editorial to how disappointed they were that former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger wasn't being tried to the fullest extent of the law. They said then:
"This is a pattern that occurs too frequently these days. An accusation is made, a denial lodged. Then a deal is struck, the accused person pleads guilty and a token penalty is extracted, all without a full-dress courtroom appearance, with testimony and cross-examination, that would let the public in on the secret."
Ah, but when we have a wrist-slapping fine of a Republican right here in Nebraska, in a case where facts are actually KNOWN, they devote a meager two sentences to Hergert's "lame" excuse.

When there's no fairness in our editorial pages, can we really expect it from our courts? And it's not for a lack of material. From the archives, read about the example Hergert was following - that of fellow Regent Randy Ferlic. Hergert tried to play the same deceitful game - he just played it poorly. And still there they sit on the Board of Regents - Hergert and Ferlic - knowing they've gotten away with it.

The seat, the power, is theirs. What good is a fine with men who have plenty of money but zero integrity? And just when are the people of Nebraska going to wake up and ask why it is these men want these unpaid seats on the Board of Regents so badly? What is their agenda, and what must it be doing to our childrens' education?


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