Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bruning Changes Course On Nelnet, Pretends All Is Well

by Kyle Michaelis

by: Dave Sund

After declaring himself last week a "friend of Nelnet," Attorney General Jon Bruning has reversed course and said that he will require Nelnet to pay the $1 million settlement - he says, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
 As the Omaha World-Herald reports:
Attorney General Jon Bruning reversed course again Friday: Student lender Nelnet will pay $1 million as part of a legal settlement with the state, a move he said should end "political gamesmanship" over the payment.
A week ago, Bruning had announced he was no longer going to require the Lincoln-based lender to pay the $1 million settlement arising from disputed business practices. He said another $2 million settlement the company had been forced to enter with the New York attorney general had mooted the need for the payment.
But after several days of blasts from critics who suggested he was showing favoritism to Nelnet executives who have financially supported the Republican's U.S. Senate bid - and one day after again strongly defending his decision in a World-Herald interview - Bruning announced late Friday that Nelnet will pay the $1 million to the state after all.
Bruning doesn't think this is going to go away just because he reinstated the slap-on-the-wrist penalty, does he? The fact that this even needs to be discussed is proof enough that Jon Bruning is beholden to his contributors at Nelnet.

Jon Bruning says he will never apologize for being a "defender of Nelnet." But that is not the job that Nebraskans elected him to do. He was elected to be the Attorney General. His job is to defend the entire state of Nebraska. And it certainly isn't to make sure that his campaign contributors are exempt from prosecution.

This won't go away just because Jon Bruning says so. What makes it even worse is that in our chance to hold him accountable for actions like these in 2006, not one Nebraskan stepped forward to offer an alternative to Jon Bruning. Surely, we can do better.

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