Tom Becka and Chris Scott discuss local politics

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Tom Becka and Chris Scott discuss the Nebraska Senate and Governor’s race. They also discuss what we have learned about the candidates thus far. Chris also discusses his takeaways from a recent Ben Sasse speech. Click here to listen to that interview.

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Nebraska conservatives fight back against DC anointed Sasse

468436Nebraska conservative activists are taking pen to paper to show their opposition to being spoon fed Ben Sasse as the Tea Party/Conservative candidate for the Nebraska U.S. Senate race. Tea Party national groups Senate Conservative Fund, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth have all decided that Ben Sasse is the best candidate for Nebraskans. The only problem is that they did not confer with any Tea Party groups or conservative activists in Nebraska.

To not included Nebraska conservatives in the conversation about who is the best candidate for Nebraska is a bit odd and clearly angered many local activists.

Click here to see the letter that went to the media.

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Chris Scott talks Nebraska Senate and Governor’s race with Jack and Dave of KLIN

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To listen to that interview click here.

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Fremont: behind the curtain of city ordinance 5165

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Chris Scott broke the story yesterday on the Tom Becka Show yesterday. That interview can be heard by clicking here.  It is segment 7.

Chris Scott was also interviewed by KETV Channel 7. That interview can be seen below.

 

As promised, click Fremont Emails for the full 927 pages of email.

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Fremont ordinance 5165: behind the curtain

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We found it odd that the Fremont City Council would not follow the will of the people and enforce certain provisions of ordinance 5165 mainly the landlord verification process.

We found it even odder that they would go to lengths to put the ordinance back it the voter’s hands after the voters clearly showed they supported 5165 and it survived through the court system.

We here at Political Insiders Report filed an open records request to see who were the power players behind repealing portions of the ordinance.

We have received hundreds of documents and are currently reviewing them and will be able to provide a full report next week.

As a teaser, here is one email by Fremont City Councilman, Mark Stange, discussing how best to get parts of the ordinance repealed based on the election date. More to come next week.

 

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Tom Becka and Chris Scott discuss local politics 3/3/2014

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As they do every Monday, Tom and Chris discuss local politics. To hear the interview click here and here.

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Tom Becka and Chris Scott discuss local politics

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Every Monday at 4:30 pm, from now until the primary, Chris Scott will be on the Tom Becka show discussing local politics. To listen to this week’s segment, click here.

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Political Insiders Report Chris Scott discusses local politics on the radio.

radioPolitical Insiders Report Chris Scott was on the Tom Becka Show Monday discussing local political races and the Nebraska Democrats decision to allow Independents to vote in their primary. Additionally, until the primary, Chris will be on every Monday at 4:30 pm. Mondays’s two part interview can be listened to by clicking here and here.

Chris was also on the radio Monday in Lincoln on the Coby Mach Show discussing local politics and a bill that would move up state primary elections so that Nebraska is relevant and can lure Presidential candidates. That interview can be listened to by clicking here.

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Breaking: Nebraska Dems vote to allow independents (non-partisan) to vote in their primaries

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A narrow 32-30 vote by Nebraska party leadership will now allow independents to vote in partisan state elections. Independents could vote in Federal and non-partisan primaries, but now could cast their vote for Amanda McGill for Auditor or Chuck Hassebrook for Governor in the primary.

We will be watching this closely on how it will impact Democrat’s voter registration or the impact on getting used to voting for a Democrat in a primary and how that impacts general election trends.

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Platte Institute has the facts wrong

By the Omaha POA staff

This week, the Nebraska based Platte Institute released a report detailing their recommendations on the debate over Nebraska prison reform.

The public and our elected officials deserve organizations that can provide them with facts so that we can solve challenges such as violent crime, gangs and recidivism.

Organizations – such as the Platte Institute – are operating on tax free dollars and therefore have a moral obligation to get their facts right.

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Important decisions may be made based on their research and recommendations.

In the Platte Institute’s report, they are critical of what they perceive as Nebraska’s “mandatory minimum” sentences, specifically Class 3 Felonies such as selling marijuana and passing a bad check over $1500.

The Platte Institute claims that such offenders are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year in prison with no possibility of probation.

This assertion is inaccurate.

While the minimum sentence guideline for a Class 3 Felony is 1 year, the reality is that one year is automatically cut to 6 months with “good time”.

Additionally, the contention that such offenders are ineligible for probation is wrong.

Judges have the absolute discretion to sentence the above-mentioned offenders to probation.

As evidence, in December of 2013 alone there were eight such Class 3 Felons convicted in Douglas County District Court who were sentenced to probation.

They avoided any prison time.

In actuality, Nebraska only has a few serious offenses that result in an true mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Those include:

-Use of a firearm to Commit a Felony
-Habitual Criminal
-Felon in Possession of a Firearm and
-1st Degree Sexual Assault on a Child.

It is the Omaha POA’s desire that the Platte Institute, and other political organizations who desire to become involved in this debate regarding the safety of Omaha’s residents, should more carefully verify their facts.

 

 

 

Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report talks with Drive Time Lincoln about Nebraska’s Senate and Governor races

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Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report talks with Kevin Thomas of Drive Time Lincoln about the recent Senate debate and how the Governor’s race is shaping up with the prospects of Attorney General Jon Bruning jumping in. To hear the interview click here.

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A new candidate in the Nebraska Auditor race?

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Former North Platte Mayor Marc Kaschke is thought to be strongly considering running for the soon to be vacated post. Marc was Mayor of North Platte for four years before losing a re-election bid to the assistant chief of police. Kaschke also ran for legislative seat 42 in 2006. He made it through the primary but lost in the general. Kaschke was able to raise quite a bit of money in that legislative race and now Attorney General Jon Bruning was one of his larger financial backers donating $5,000.

Currently, Nebraska State Senators Pete Pirsch and Amanda McGill are the only announced candidates in the race. Kaschke would be the first candidate outside of a major metropolitan area.

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School Choice: Breaking indoctrination, learning to think

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By Andrew L. Sullivan

While not everyone may agree there are problems with educating children today, most agree there can be vast improvements. All sorts of issues have arisen regarding schools and each new problem is entrenched in previous problems as well as the general culture. Many have called for reform with ideas for school vouchers, charter schools and home school, empowering parents with greater options. In Nebraska groups like

All have fostered a call to change.

While some ideas may work better than others, the importance of giving parents greater options is crucial to helping parents and students to be break the mode of being passive to the latest culture trend or a mere subject to the school.  Instead of just making certain kids get to school, learning becomes the focus and helps student become successful adults. Such reforms also will allow for greater innovation.

Innovation is important as both public and private schools are highly resistant to change. Even with reforms for school choice nationwide, the education establishment has largely co-opted such reforms and muddied up the results. Public schools are buried in administrative meetings, unions have their demands, and regulations plague the entire education system. While private schools have much going for them, often they are trapped by their own bureaucracies.

The education establishment is so heavily and culturally embedded, it has its own way of speaking and communicating.  In attending an education conference, I had just missed the introductions but speaker after speaker, I could easily tell who the school administrators were just by voice. Their use of language was muted and monotone and put listeners to sleep.  Listening to them was pointless. These administrators had spent so much time talking to each other over the years, and their words had become so scripted, they had lost the ability to engage and inspire their audience or offer any legitimately good idea and it was because they were largely absent from the reality. Their line of thinking was basically “your child is our property” and they encouraged parents to act accordingly.

At the same time, the world is going through an information revolution, breaking down cultural barriers and allowing subcultures and other trends to blend and rise with the massive flows of information.  Access to information has never been easier, yet the latest generation of Americans, the Millennials, appear to have been lead to believe school is just a time to socialize and read a handful of books and become indoctrinated in to a set of beliefs, instead of understanding the necessity of learning and becoming a successful person.

Most people understand the flaws and problems with information from the internet. But for millennial generation who are just a bit savvier with the internet than their elders, a lie not only travels faster than the truth but at internet speed. What many people still do not understand about the internet is there is little filtering of information and often it is raw or an outright lie. When viewing internet information, you have to double check it because, you and only you, are the one judging such information. Unfortunately, many do not make sufficient judgment or critical evaluation of such information because their education never provided the base of knowledge and critical thinking necessary for the information age. This problem has impacted millennials and it shows in the “documentaries” they liked over the years.

A movie called Loose Change tried to claim the 9/11 attacks were an inside job by the US government. The magazine Popular Mechanics was so disturbed by the illogical claims, they used their website to debunk the whole conspiracy. (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/1227842)

Later, Michael Moore’s movie Fahrenheit 9/11 borrowed many ideas which had been circulating around the internet. The movie has so many pieces of false information, researcher David Koppel ended up collecting revelations of the false information and posted them on his web site (http://www.davekopel.com/redirect/Terror/Fiftysix-Deceits-in-Fahrenheit-911.htm). Neither of these films would have taken hold without the internet but they also should have not taken hold because of the internet. People took the stories as fact without checking and comparing the information. They read headlines but not facts. Our education system failed to defuse such ignorance and actually helped such films to proliferate by leaving students ignorant. The proliferation of remedial courses is evidence enough.

In Nebraska, the education reforms have been slow to arrive and minimal.  Knowing many who will read this already have young children, let me share with you my advice. Breakdown the indoctrination system and add to your child’s thinking. Supplement their learning. Turn learning into a habit, not a chore.  The way to do this is when they ask you a question, tell them to look it up. In fact, push it further. Ask if they learned any new words today and if they say “no”, ask them to find a new word. Ask them what the capital of a particular state is, and then challenge them to tell you all they can find about such city. There are even websites such as Khan Academy with all sorts of lessons, including how to build a robot (https://www.khanacademy.org/science/discoveries-projects/robots/all-about-spout/v/spout-bot-at-santa-rita-elementary-school).

But don’t limit such inquires to the Internet and books. Spread it on to people too. So your child is staring at a handicapped person or other person at Church?  Challenge your child and say “If you are going to stare, go up and introduce yourself to them and ask them to share their story.”  Your child may look away or they may surprise you and go ask the question! I assure you, everyone loves to tell their story and your child will hear a story worthy of learning. Learning is always going involve asking a question. If you have fear of asking questions, you do not learn and you are left with the indoctrination and dogma handed to you. If people are to help each other, whether sick, imprisoned, retired or homeless or just their neighbors and family, they must be able to ask questions of each other to learn more. Regardless, changing the education system will take time which your child does not have. Engage with them now.

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Douglas County GOP Chairman: Nebraskans Don’t Fall For the Same Trick Twice

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Bryan Baumgart-Chairman, Douglas County Republican Party

State Senator Kathy Campbell of Lincoln is back with last year’s pig, but this year she’s put lipstick on it!

Last year, Nebraska patriots successfully fought Campbell’s Obamacare Bill, LB577 which sought to expand Medicaid as prescribed under the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). The Douglas County Republican Party passed a resolution opposing the Expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska. Fortunately the bill stalled under a filibuster and Governor Heineman’s veto promise.

This year Campbell is back with a dressed up version of last year’s disaster. The new bill, LB887 still looks to push Obamacare on Nebraska, but with a catchy new name. Campbell has dubbed her bill “WIN”, or “Wellness in Nebraska”. Apparently she believes Nebraskans are gullible. Whether it’s called the “Affordable Care Act” or “Wellness in Nebraska”…it’s still the same failed monstrosity that Nebraskans can’t afford.

Of course Campbell’s bill is once again backed by some of Nebraska’s most vocal supporters of government expansion. Senators Nordquist, Howard, and Crawford have already eagerly signed on to the bill, while many of last year’s supporters are waiting to see just how heated the opposition is going to get before making the same mistake twice. My sources tell me this bill could hinge on Senator Bob Krist of Omaha. Senator Krist is a Republican up for reelection this fall. I encourage you to give Senator Krist a call at (402) 471-2718 and urge him to oppose LB887, a bill no true conservative could support. Contact information for Nebraska State Senators can be found here.
krist3Under LB887, people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level would be covered by taxpayers with coverage under the WIN marketplace, or Medicaid for those below the federal poverty level. Those with incomes between 50 percent and 100 percent of the federal poverty level would be required to contribute 2 percent of their incomes with taxpayers covering the rest. The 2 percent contribution would be waived for anyone who obtains an annual physical exam and a health risk assessment.

Supporters suggest Nebraska take advantage of the federal government’s promise to cover the expansion of the Medicaid program until 2016, in which federal contributions would then drop to 90% by 2022. The President also promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance if they liked it. That promise was voted Politifacts 2013 Lie of the Year. Nebraskan’s don’t fall for the same trick twice, just ask Ben Nelson!

The federal government is currently more than $17 trillion dollars in debt. This means each dollar Nebraska receives from the federal government is borrowed against our children’s futures, and will eventually have to be repaid with interest by American taxpayers. Last time I checked Nebraska was still in America.

Decades ago, the federal government promised to fund 40 percent of special education. That promise was not kept and taxpayers are left to pick up the tab. If the federal government fails once again to keep its promise, the financial burden falls again onto the backs of hardworking Nebraskans. A study by the Platte Institute reveals that in the states that chose to expand Medicaid, the costs were higher than projected while the numbers of uninsured cases were not dramatically reduced. Given the financial state as well as the track record of our federal government, this is not a risk worth taking for Nebraska taxpayers. Nebraskan’s could be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars which means reduced funding for education and/or tax increases.

Supporters claim that taxpayers are already on the hook when the uninsured visit emergency rooms for care. However, a new study reveals that people enrolled recently in Medicaid went to emergency rooms 40 percent more frequently than others, often seeking help for conditions that could be treated less expensively in a doctor’s office or an urgent care clinic.

Medicaid abuse is just one negative side effect. On Tuesday, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced his Medicaid Fraud Unit has recovered more than $77 million since 2004 and $13.5 million in 2013 alone. Combine the fraud and abuse with other factors such as lack of doctors in rural Nebraska and Medicaid expansion just doesn’t add up.

Americans are now witnessing Obamacare fail on every level. From the fumbled website launch to a lack of enrollees as well as numerous delays and executive orders just prolonging the inevitable death of a law that was passed without reading. A law that was promised not to be a tax, yet ruled by the Supreme Court to be the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

Nebraskans should be thankful for Governor Heineman’s common sense decision not to bring Obamacare to Nebraska by creating a state exchange. Now we must contact our representatives and ask them to keep Obamacare out of the state by opposing LB887. Simply put…expanding Medicaid means Obamacare stays in Nebraska permanently. Do you know where your State Senator stands? Call them NOW, and ask them to oppose LB887 before it’s too late.

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Gubernatorial Race: Slone turns some heads and raises more than $328,000 in last 45 days

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Bryan Slone may have just kicked off his campaign to succeed Gov. Dave Heineman in December but he raised an impressive $328,000 in the last few weeks of 2013.

Slone’s campaign will file its annual report electronically with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission Thursday.

“I’m thankful for the outpouring of support that we have received so far,” said Slone. “In response we are rapidly ramping up the campaign as we travel across the state.”

The campaign raised $280,750 in cash contributions and $47,402.50 in-kind for a total of $328,152.50. Slone’s campaign spent $26,659.39 in cash expenditures for the period and ended the year with $254,090.61 in the bank.

Slone’s focused his campaign on reforming Nebraska’s high taxes, strengthening the University of Nebraska system and developing a high-tech 21st Century infrastructure to connect all parts of Nebraska with the global economy.

A strong free market conservative, Slone knows a fairer and flatter tax system will help Nebraska grow new jobs. A recent ranking by the Tax Foundation showed Nebraska with the 16th worst state business tax climate in the nation, a ranking below all of the state’s neighbors but Iowa.

A tax attorney and accountant Slone retired as a managing partner at Deloitte before entering the race. A native of rural Nebraska, he and his wife Leslie live in Omaha and have two adult children.

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Janssen tax reform proposal

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State Senator and candidate for Governor Charlie Janssen has released a tax relief plan focused on income and property tax cuts and greater accountability in government spending.

Janssen has incorporated his plan into two bills he’ll introduce Wednesday, the first day of the 2014 legislative session.

“I’ve put 30,000 miles on my truck traveling our state, and the clear message from homeowners, business leaders, farmers and ranchers is that we need tax relief now,” Janssen said. “I know we can get there by making government accountable and regularly auditing for waste and inefficiency.”

Janssen’s tax relief plan includes the following proposals:

Cut income tax rates and adjust tax brackets for inflation

Exempt Social Security and military retirement benefits from taxation

Increase annual funding for Property Tax Credit Program by 30% to $150 million

Reduce agricultural land tax valuation to 65% of market value

Janssen’s plan will also require state agencies to file an additional report with their budget documents that identifies low-utilization, low-priority, and inefficient programs. He will also propose creation of a “Sunset Commission” that targets and reviews expiring and inefficient programs for elimination.

“Making government accountable through a regular audit process is critical to tax relief,” Janssen said. “We’ve done it before to address budget deficits and we can absolutely increase our use of agency and program audits to cut spending.”

The final component of Janssen’s Plan would require the Department of Revenue to contract for new technology to track down non-payers, whose failure to pay costs the state millions in lost tax receipts each year.

“If we can just collect what is owed we can reduce the overall tax burden for everybody,” Janssen said.

 

To read the tax relief bill, click here.

To read the agency audit bill, click here.

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning Files for Re-Election

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The veteran sheriff will launch his re-election campaign with a 20-year record of building the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office into one of the nation’s best.

Omaha, NE — Today, Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning filed for re-election with the Douglas County Elections Office.  Sheriff Dunning will enter the campaign season with an outstanding 20 year record of accomplishment in professionalizing the Sheriff’s Office while protecting both citizens and taxpayers.

“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Douglas County as Sheriff.  We work hard every day not only to protect our citizens, but also to build a better, more capable and efficient department.  I’m looking forward to the challenge of the next four years,” said Sheriff Dunning.

Tim Dunning for Sheriff will also begin the 2014 campaign with a strong financial edge over any would-be challenger, having raised app. $43,000 in 2013.  The campaign committee will report over $35,000 in cash on-hand.

Since Sheriff Dunning’s election in 1994, he has led the department to a stellar record of accomplishment.

Protecting Taxpayers.

Since 1995, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has never been over-budget.  Since 2009, the DCSO budget has increased just 5.6%.  That’s less than 1.5% each year.

Expanding Crime Lab With No New Taxpayer Dollars.

4 Years ago, the DCSO renovated the West Wing of the Fitzgerald Home to expand the Crime Lab Function and house the department’s K9 Unit.  The $4.2 million project was paid for entirely from Seized Assets — funds confiscated from Drug Dealers.

Building a Best-in-Class Sheriff’s Department.

DCSO is the only nationally accredited Sheriff’s Department in the state of Nebraska.  The DCSO is recognized as a gold standard agency, placing the department in the top 10% of all law enforcement agencies.

The DCSO has received national accreditation “with excellence” through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is the only Sheriff’s Office in the State of Nebraska to have received such recognition, and the “with excellence” distinction places the department in the top tier of law enforcement agencies in the country.

Sheriff Dunning is currently serving his fifth term as Sheriff of Douglas County, Nebraska.  He was first elected as Sheriff in 1994.  Sheriff Dunning is running for re-election in 2014.  He is a retired Omaha Police Lieutenant, serving 22 years with that department.  He has a Bachelors Degree in General Studies and a Masters Degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He attended the FBI National Academy and graduated in 1988.  He also graduated from the FBI Executive Development Institute in 1996.

Sheriff Dunning has been married for 43 years to his wife Sue.  He has four children and three grandchildren.

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Nebraska Unicameral: NET to provide gavel to gavel coverage

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NET gavel-to-gavel coverage can be found on TV (NET2 World), via the website (see link below) and on our new Nebraska Capitol Live App. I have included additional information and links below.

 

  • ·         Live Legislative Coverage: Each day the legislature is in session, NETNews provides gavel-to-gavel coverage on NET Television’s NET2 World.  NET Radio listeners can hear legislative highlights of each weekday session at 5:30 p.m. CT during “All Things Considered,” as well as at 7:06 a.m. CT during “Morning Edition.” Coverage is also available streaming on the NET website at: http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government

 

  • ·         Mobile Access: In 2013, nearly 5.4 million minutes of state government proceedings were streamed from the NET website. Legislative content is now available on mobile devices via the Nebraska Capitol Live Mobile App. The app provides instant access to Unicameral action including discussions, votes and hearing rooms. In addition to the Legislature, video from the Nebraska Supreme Court, Appellate Court, the Governor’s Hearing Room and the Nebraska Department of Education are all available. The Capitol Live App is available for Apple and Android devices at the following links:

o   The Capitol Live App on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nebraska-capitol-live/id597484363?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

o   Capitol Live App on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.netnebraska.nebraskacapitollive

o   Other NET Nebraska Mobile Apps: http://www.netnebraska.org/basic-page/other/mobile-apps

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Chris Scott talks with Kevin of Drive Time Lincoln about swearing toddler video and the start of the legislative session

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Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report interviews with Kevin of DTL to discuss the recent swearing toddler video that has made national headlines. They also discuss why the Omaha POA posted the video, community repercussions, and what the next step is for the people involved in the video. They also discuss the just started legislative session.

To here the interview click 1-9-14 Chris Scott.

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Omaha Housing Authority under investigation again?

 

auditBy Editorial Staff

After the the 11 page summary results from a scathing audit of OHA came to light last October, Political Insiders Report sprang into action to get a copy of the full forensic audit. The 11 page summary report can be viewed by clicking here. On November 4th of 2013 we filed a formal FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request with Housing and Urban Development’s office in Washington.

After months of back and forth with HUD, our request finally made it to the desk of HUD’s office of general counsel. There are 9 reasons why a FOIA request can be denied and they range from national security issues, to competitive bidding, internal HR items, and a few other reasons.

Interestingly enough, our request was turned down for legal reasons and 7(A) was cited as the reason. What is even more interesting is that usually with a FOIA request, you will get your information with some sensitive parts redacted. Our request was turned down entirely. This is significant because of the legal precedent set by the follow case.

Nielsen Trans. Group, Ltd. v. DOJ, 480 F. Supp. 2d 166, 179 (D.D.C. 2007) (reiterating necessity of pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding and “some articulable harm” caused by release of information), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 534 F. 3d 728, 733-34 (D.C. Cir. 2008 )

agreeing that while Exemption 7(A) is applicable, reiterating that “agency cannot justify withholding an entire document simply by showing that it contains some exempt requirement of Exemption 7(A), an agency must be able to point to a specific pending or contemplated law enforcement proceeding.”

 5 As one court has observed, “[i]f an agency could withhold information whenever it could imagine circumstances where the information might have some bearing on some hypothetical enforcement proceeding, the FOIA would be meaningless.” 6

Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report and Tom Becka discussed the findings on the Tom Becka Show on The Mighty 1290 KOIL. That interview can be heard be clicking here and was conducted January 9th segment 9. Below is the FOIA rejection email Political Insiders Report received from HUD.

Time will tell where this will lead but we will keep you posted.

 

HUD

 

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Discussion on Nebraska’s HHS

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There has been much discussion about the waste and fraud at HHS since a 2011 audit. Many have argued that the Nebraska Auditor Mike Foley and now Gubernatorial candidate has been going after HHS for political purposes.

Political Insiders Report went through the various parts of the HHS audits since 2011 and compiled our findings. It should be noted that there are two sides to this, but our focus is on what the Nebraska Auditor’s claims to have found and not who is to blame.

Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report also sat with guest hosts Jeremy Aspen and Paul Vojchehoske on the Tom Becka show to discuss his research on Monday. That three part interview can be listened to by clicking below.

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2011 Audit Findings Child Welfare Reform

  • 25 million spent on contractors and no documentation. Foley states “Either they’re deliberately violating the law, or it’s true — they spent $25 million, and nobody has any notes, no documentation,” he said. “It’s extraordinary, we’ve never seen anything quite like this.”
  • Massive overpayments to lead contractors. “By the time it was all said and done, we believe that HHS overpaid Visinet $3.9 million dollars.” Instead of going under, the auditor said, the company was actually paid by the state for 76 extra days, during which no services were rendered.
  • In a limited sample analysis of HHS payments, the audit found $25,000 in duplicate payments, while another $128,000 went to the wrong contractor.
  • Sub contractor overbilling. “We have found that they are hiring un-credentialed workers,” he said. “These are people that they hired from Taco Bell and Wal-Mart. They’re paying them $10 to $12 an hour, and then they’re billing the state of Nebraska $47 an hour.”

2013 Audit Findings of Nebraska Federal Energy Assistance run by HHS

  • State auditors had “serious concerns” that the majority of the 19,000 payments “were never used to pay utility bills,” as intended.
  • Auditors also found 261 payments totaling nearly $112,000 were sent to dead people — some who had been dead for well over a year and many whose deaths were known to the state before they issued the payments.
  • When 135 payments were randomly tested, auditors found one was cashed at Ralston Keno, 19 at Walmart, 24 at grocery stores, restaurants and paycheck loan stores.
  • One recipient who died in May 2011 had his August 2011 payment cashed at an Omaha liquor store months after his death. Another who died in March 2011 had his payment cashed at Walmart six months after his death.
  • Dozens of those payments were “signed” by the deceased person, raising the prospect of forgery.
  • Auditors also found nearly 1,300 payments totaling more than $500,000 that were never cashed, but rather than cancel the payments and recycle them back into the LIHEAP program or return the money to the feds, the state converted them into state general funds.

2013 Audit of  Assistance to the Aged, Blind or Disabled Run by HHS

  • The audit report singled out Judith Widener, 70, of Bayard, president of Safe Haven Inc. in Gering, a nonprofit that handles finances for adult wards of the courts. Widener has been appointed by the courts as a legal guardian for more than 600 people throughout the state, including 112 in Lancaster County. Hundreds of her ward-guardian relationships are still in effect, Foley said.
  • The auditor’s office sampled 91 cases in which it appeared state benefits were going to Safe Haven and Widener. As of Oct. 23, Widener had signing authority to more than 40 bank accounts with balances totaling $636,000, he said.
  • The auditor’s office alleged Widener took about $35,000 for her personal use, including checks for $500 for birthday and Christmas gifts for herself. Foley also cited evidence of Widener’s gambling activity in three states.
  • HHS ignored red flags-HS files show the department was aware the U.S. Veterans Administration and the U.S. Social Security Administration had expressed concerns about Widener’s involvement in guardianship cases, Foley said. And in recent years, Lancaster County Judge Gerald Rouse had forbidden Widener from being named to any further legal guardianships in Lancaster County.
  • The auditor’s office looked at a sampling of cases, and found that in 36 percent HHS was making unreasonable payments or ones that were in violation of state law or regulations.
  • People were receiving thousands of dollars for living expenses while living in HHS facilities and having no living expenses.
  • A state prison inmate was getting checks for living expenses
  • In some cases, medical reports had been provided to HHS indicating applicants did not meet the disability requirements but were getting payments anyway.
  • In some cases, applicants did not disclose assets that would have disqualified them from payment, and in one case, a person got more than $100,000 in undeserved payments.
  • Smaller payments were made to 10 people after their deaths, and when HHS found out it did not attempt to recoup the money.
  • Another person received more than $150,000 improperly because his bank account balance wasn’t verified.

2013 Audit of Health Insurance Premium Payment run by HHS

  • State auditors found hundreds of thousands of dollars in errors in 53 of the 70 most expensive cases they reviewed.
  • In one case, the department paid more than $265,000 in premiums when it clearly would have been cheaper to put the person on Medicaid. The HHS file indicated the HIPP administrator was well aware that it wasn’t cost-effective, but continued to make payments of more than $9,000 per month for health insurance premiums.
  • Auditors also found cases in which the state was reimbursing for the more costly employer portion health insurance costs, not the employee portion, resulting in a $20,000 overpayment in one case and $38,000 in another.
  • Auditors also found numerous cases in which participants were paying no premiums for health insurance, but were getting HIPP payments, to the tune of $29,000 in one case.
  • Auditors also found the agency incorrectly paid thousands of dollars for dental insurance, vision insurance, long-term disability insurance, life insurance — even parking expenses, even though they weren’t allowable.

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Chris Scott on the Coby Mach Show

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Chris Scott discusses the Nebraska Senate and Gubernatorial races. To hear the interview with Coby Mach on 1240 KFOR, click here.

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The Rumor Mill

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By Editorial Staff

In CD 2, the Democrats have been scrambling to find a replacement to challenge Lee Terry. Democrats felt Pete Festersen was an ideal candidate to take on a weakened Terry. Festersen was a pro-business moderate and a capable fundraiser.

Dr. Larry Bradley picture provided by unogateway.com

Dr. Larry Bradley picture provided by unogateway.com

Now that Festersen is out, it appears that another Democrat is ready to step in. Larry Bradley seems poised to yet again throw his hat into the political arena. Dr. Bradley’s most recent campaign was for the Nebraska Board of Regents in 2012 losing to Bob Whitehouse by less than 3%.

Over to the U.S. Senate race. After months of scrambling, the Democrats might have finally convinced a candidate to challenge whichever Republican candidate emerges from a heavily contested Republican primary.

Our sources tell us that David Domina is in. There was a great write-up on Domina in the Lincoln Journal Star in late November. That article can be read by clicking here.

The biggest eyebrow raiser is a rumor swirling that Colonel Tom Brewer, Nebraska’s most battle tested solider, might be considering a second career in politics. Omaha World Herald columnist, Matt Hansen, wrote an excellent piece on the Colonel a few weeks back. That column can be read by clicking here.

Colonel Tom Brewer

Colonel Tom Brewer

Political Insiders Report has heard that he would be looking to run for Congress.

We reached out to the Colonel and received no response. We did find it interesting that the recently established @ColTomBrewer is following quite a few politicos and news/media outlets. A Colonel Brewer would certainly provide us with a candid, no nonsense candidate.

Time will tell how many of these rumors will materialize, but stay tuned as the political season is almost upon us.

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Has the excommunication of Senator Bob Krist begun?

Bob Krist at a recent MUD kick off party for former Democratic State Senator Gwen Howard

Bob Krist at a recent MUD kick off party for former Democrat State Senator Gwen Howard

By Editorial Staff

It is no secret that Republican State Senator Bob Krist has ruffled the feathers of his political party several times. Krist has had open feuds with the Governor and several members of his party over votes and policy. Nothing showed this growing divide more than his co-sponsoring of LB 577 which is the state expansion of Medicaid. Krist was called a RINO (Republican in name only) publicly and perhaps much worse behind closed doors. With the legislative session on the horizon and Medicaid expansion most likely on the table, this might be the last straw for Republicans and their support for Krist.

What is notable is Krist’s rather odd behavior since LB 577. Krist took to Facebook bashing the Douglas County Republican Party, American’s for Prosperity, and the Tea Party after conservatives questioned why a Republican was carrying the water for welfare expansion in the form of Medicaid. That Facebook post is below.

Krist

 

When Krist was questioned by Nebraska Watchdog on April 16th, 2013 about his Republican bona fides, here is what he had to say.

“When people call me not a real Republican, at this point it shakes my inner being because I am a Republican. I will not change party affiliations.”

After that statement it should be clear that Krist is an unwavering Republican right? Let’s fast forward to July 11th, 2013 less than three months after swearing his allegiance to the party.

The Omaha World Herald asked Krist about his higher political aspirations and if he ran for higher office would he switch parties.

He said he’s not sure whether he would run as a Republican or Democrat. “That’s really part of my whole decision process.”

After co-sponsoring Medicaid expansion and wavering on whether he would run as a Democrat or Republican, it is no wonder many Republican insiders question if the R next to Krist’s name is simply for political expedience in a district that leans right.

In Krist’s defense, he has always stated that he does what he feels is best for the people he represents and that is admirable. However, if Krist decides to spearhead a push again this legislative session to expand Medicaid you can bet that the Governor-appointed Krist will have a primary challenger in the spring. It is too early to tell if Krist will go the way of Brad Ashford and switch political parties over ideological differences, but if he does it could be a very amicable separation.

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The situation is worse than we are being told

helpBy Andrew L. Sullivan-local conservative activist

Not to sound like a Porter Stansberry ad, but the mainstream media even much of the conservative media is far away from telling just how bad the situation is in the United States and the economic crisis to come. Many know about the 17 trillion dollar debt so let us set that a side for the moment.

The US Constitution was largely set up to bring in tax revenue and fund a national defense as written in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. It was the very reason President Thomas Jefferson was able to raise money for a navy to fight in North Africa in the Barbary Wars. However, today, if we could abolish all expenditures on the US military from the Federal budget, the United States would still be in deficit spending and be spending over two and a half trillion dollars. (See stats at http://www.usdebtclock.org) No one wants to focus on what we are spending money on.

Social Security liabilities are set up to provide everyone in the United States with a Social Security check for over 20 percent of their adult lives. Doubts? Life expectancy is 80 years old and while the next generation will retire at 67. That is still over 20 percent of a person’s adult life. Medicare and Medicaid spend more than Social Security. Obamacare will add to such costs.

We fund these programs with a payroll tax of 15.3 percent which results in people demanding higher wages. Yet, with such taxation, there is no way to raise wages without giving jobs to foreign countries. In fact, the payroll tax contributes to our immigration problem. An employer can hire an illegal immigrant and allow the illegal immigrant to take home the same take home pay as a comparable American worker, while the business pockets the 15.3 difference.

Our country needs doctors and engineers but the way the tax structure is set, we get a flood of low skill immigrants. This leads many to oppose any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, which means we are deporting doctors and engineers simply because their visas have run out. Americans are losing the desire of keeping highly desirable human assets in the US and instead are giving the advantage to foreign countries like China.

On top of this is the moral decay which happens upon receiving a government check without doing work or creating prosperity. The recipient’s esteem is no longer built on receiving pay for good work, but for merely existing. A thief and a drug dealer have better self-esteem as they actually have to put in work to steal and deal drugs. Perhaps the best argument in favor of dealing drugs is it amounts to doing work without any support from the government. The Federal Government continues to provide all sorts of subsidies, entitlements and other assistance, not understanding it is fundamentally making Americans less moral and less productive.

And back to the 17 trillion dollar debt. The Federal Reserve controls the interest rates and they have been holding the interest rate to near zero. This encourages all forms of government and others to go in to debt and deeply in to it. The result creates a problem. The interest rate eventually has to go up or our currency, the dollar, will be worthless. But since the Federal government has spent so much money, it is terrified how large the debt would grow if the interest rate goes back up.

President Reagan is often derided because of the debt which accrued during his term, but the debt was the result of his efforts to kill inflation. Democrats will mention it was Paul Volker, another Democrat, of the Federal Reserve who killed inflation, but when Volker took action against inflation, the Democrats wanted Volker dead. Reagan re-appointed Volker to the Federal Reserve.

So why is next nobody wanting to talk about inflation and the Federal Reserve? Because the American public is taught more about sex education than economics and the politicians want it that way. You want minimum wage raised to ten dollars an hour? Politicians will say yes! The Federal Reserve will notice the raise in minimum wage causes unemployment and merely inflate the money supply so your $10 wage can only purchase $7.25 of yesterday goods. By the way, the percent payroll tax of 15.3 means the Federal Government will get more tax dollars in the short term of raising the minimum wage. And the cycle continues.

So how does anyone become rich with such manipulation of the economy? Get your wealth away from money! Invest in stocks, bonds, gold. When in need of things, use coupons, barter and trade. For some, this seems obvious. But guess what the Federal Reserve is encouraging people to do? Borrow and spend and borrow some more, and if you do that, the poorer you will be. Sit at home and collect a government check and say “woe is me” all courtesy of the Federal Government.

There is lies the problem. The Federal Government needs people to tax but what if there are not enough people to tax? What if there is not enough wealth to support the Federal Government spending habits? This is no longer a dream scenario. It is the actual situation our country is faced with. I am a realist, not an optimist. Americans will not see these problems for what they are, and the United States is open to exploitation by those willing to embrace the ideas which make people prosper such as unbridled capitalism.

The Democrats do not believe in capitalism but they do believe Republicans are the root of all evil and they are set out to convince all Americans of their truth on this matter. The Democrats seek one party rule. They empower dictator Obama at every chance they get. No more filibuster. No more government shutdowns. We will fund a train wreck like Obamacare and declare Obama God while we let Christians be slaughtered in foreign lands.

Dissolving the United States may take 20 years but I can tell it has already arrived. We fund the Drug Enforcement Agency to go after marijuana as if there was some national consensus but more and more states are legalizing it. To add to such burdens are unfunded mandates such as the EPA sewer separation project imposed on Omaha. How about diverting some of the DEA’s anti-marijuana funds to fund sewer separation? Don’t even bring it up. No one will listen to you.

The great Republic of the United States of American is slowly turning in to the Soviet Socialist State of America and few seem to notice. This is not mere rhetoric. Obamacare is a bigger health care entitlement than anything the USSR provided. But to many Americans, the USSR is not even a memory from a history book. I assure you, the situation is far worse than we are being told.

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Will immigration reform be a hot issue in the 2nd congressional district race?

 

nrconline.org

nrconline.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Editorial Staff

Currently Republican incumbent Lee Terry, Republican challenger Dan Frei, and Democrat Pete Festersen are the only announced candidates in the race for the 2nd congressional district seat. It is too early to say, but the immigration reform debate is heating up on Capitol Hill and could very well spill over into the assumed slug fest that is brewing here in Douglas and Sarpy county.

On November 2-3, 2013, Basswood Research conducted a survey of likely general election voters in 20 Republican congressional districts. These districts surveyed are widely viewed as the 20 most competitive ones currently held by Republican incumbents in the nation.

One of the 20 in the survey was the 2nd congressional district that includes Douglas and Sarpy county. The full survey can be accessed by clicking here.

Below are some highlights as to the opinions of how immigration reform is viewed by both Republicans and Democrats by the voters of these hotly contested congressional races.

 

imigration1

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It is yet to be determined if immigration reform/border security will be the hot issue in this local congressional race, but there seems to be some very strong opinions on these matters. There is however little doubt that President Obama is looking to change the subject of Obamacare to immigration reform very soon.

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Remembering JFK

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Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report talks with Kevin Thomas of KLIN Drive Time Lincoln to discuss JFK’s great legacy and popularity. That interview can be heard by clicking the link 11-21-13 Chris Scott

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Lee Terry endorses Pete Ricketts for Governor

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Omaha, NE –  U.S. Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) today endorsed Pete Ricketts in the race for Governor of Nebraska. Terry said:

Nebraska is such a special place to live, and we deserve the best in our governor and that’s why I support Pete Ricketts. I appreciate everything Pete has done to advance ideas that will grow Nebraska’s economy and the effort he has put forth to build the Republican Party in Nebraska. Pete’s experience creating jobs, managing budgets, and helping small business owners set him apart as a candidate.”

Upon receiving U.S. Congressman Lee Terry’s endorsement, Pete Ricketts made the following statement:

“I am honored to receive Congressman Terry’s support in this campaign. I’ve always been a supporter of Congressman Terry as he’s championed limited government and American energy independence. I look forward to continue working with him for the benefit of all Nebraskans. A strong partnership between the congressional delegation and Nebraska’s next Governor is increasingly important as states are forced to push back on the unfunded federal mandates like President Obama’s failed healthcare law.”

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How does President Obama rank-a little historical context

obamaOp-Ed by Christopher Scott

One does not have to stray very far into Republican circles to hear the claim that President Obama is by far the worst ever. Whether it is disdain for his progressive agenda or dislike of Obamacare, many Republicans believe that our current President is the worst yet. However, based on public opinion, Obama is not nearly the worst.

In the late 1930’s George Gallup developed a simple poll that gauged a political figure’s approval ratings. A sample of people were asked a simple question, “Do you approve of the job the President is doing?” The poll is brilliant in its simplicity and avoids many of the tricks pollsters engage to elicit a desired response.

The first Gallup poll was applied to Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR served four terms which is longer than any other President so naturally the Gallup polls yielded the most data points on his presidency. The height of FDR’s approval came during WWII right on the heels of the Declaration of United Nations signed by 26 nations at the Arcadia Conference. That January 8th, 1942 FDR had an approval rating of 84%.

Eisenhower was a very popular President and had the second highest approval rating average at 65%. Even Ike was not immune to a fickle constituency and suffered through peaks and troughs. In March of 1958 his approval dipped below half to 48%.

Although his tenure in the office was short, the most popular President was none other than John F. Kennedy. Kennedy had an astounding average approval rating of 70.1% and never registered an approval rating less than 56%.

Lyndon B. Johnson had an average approval rating that was exactly the same as recent popular President Bill Clinton at 55.1%.

Richard Nixon on August 2nd of 1974 had his approval rating drop from a once high 67% all the way down to a staggering 24%. Even Nixon’s approval rating of 24% does not put him at the bottom of the barrel. That dubious title goes to Truman who in 1952 saw his approval rating sink to 22%. Nixon did have a respectable average approval rating over his presidency of 49.1%.

The other worst President name bantered about among Republicans is Jimmy Carter. If you count yourself as one that considers Carter the worst President, based on average approval ratings, you are close. Carter has the second lowest average approval rating at 45.5% but is a hair better than Truman who averaged an approval rating of 45.4%. It also should be noted that at one point Carter had an astronomical approval rating of 75%.

So roll up your sleeves Democrats and Republicans and get ready to duke it out over who was the most popular President in recent history. Was it Reagan or Clinton you ask? The answer, neither. Actually one-term President George H. W. Bush was more popular than Reagan and Clinton. Bush had an average approval rating of almost 61% which was the third highest in history and the highest since Kennedy. Unfortunately for Bush, his lowest approval came at the time for re-election. As stated earlier, Clinton enjoyed an average approval rating of 55.1% while Reagan’s average approval rating was 52.8% and never went higher than 68%.

So who had the highest approval rating ever at 90%? The answer may shock you, unless you factor in the date. On September 21st, 2001 George W. Bush had an approval rating of 90% in the wake of the September 11 attacks, but he also has the title for the highest disapproval rating of 71% in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008. A 90% approval rating is significantly higher than any other president but one. George W. Bush’s father registered an approval rating of 89% February 28th, 1991, the exact day the first Gulf War ended.

So is Barack Obama the worst President? Based on public approval ratings the answer is no. Obama has an average approval rating of 49%, has been as high as 69% and as low as 37%. Obama’s average approval ratings are higher than Carter, Ford, and Truman.

Time will tell what the final legacy is in the realm of public opinion for President Obama, but history tells us while he is nowhere near the most popular President, he still has a way to go to be dubbed the worst.

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Obamacare discussion on Latino Perspectives

Chris Scott of Political Insiders Report, Kris Pierce of View Point, and Reynaldo Cervantes of Latino Perspectives discuss the pros, cons, and merits of Obamacare.

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