Exec Board asks Kintner to resign over state computer cybersex

Sen. Bob Krist answers questions after Exec Board votes to ask Sen. Bill Kintner to resign. (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)
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August 29, 2016 - 5:15pm

The Nebraska Legislature’s Executive Board voted unanimously Monday to ask Sen. Bill Kintner to resign by Friday for having used his state computer for cybersex. If Kintner refuses, the board will meet again next week to discuss further action.

For the second time in two weeks, the Executive Board – the Legislature’s internal governing body – met to discuss Sen. Bill Kintner. This time, he was explicitly invited to testify, but didn’t. Instead his lawyer sent a letter calling an appearance “ill-advised.”

That didn’t stop nearly three hours of discussion, preceded by a news conference on the Capitol steps by conservative supporters of the senator. Among them was Joe Herring, an Omaha writer, who said Kintner’s future should be decided by his constituents when he is up for reelection, scheduled for two years from now.

“Anything beyond that is not accountability. It’s what it appears to be at face value – a politically-motivated witch hunt designed to remove an obstacle to growing government in Nebraska,” Herring said.

Sen. Bill Kintner (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

Other supporters made the same argument in the Executive Board hearing. But Luke Peterson, a former legislative page who said he follows the Legislature closely, urged senators to act against Kintner.

“I certainly talk to a lot of people – Republicans, Democrats, apolitical, political – and they all have the same reaction: this is deplorable, despicable, and something ought to be done,” Peterson said.

The board then discussed what that “something” should be. Speaker of the Legislature Galen Hadley recommended a letter signed by all 10 members of the executive board asking Kintner to resign by Friday. That motion was approved 9-0. Sen. Heath Mello, the non-voting tenth member of the board, said he would sign as well. But Sen. Colby Coash predicted nothing would come of it, noting Kintner has steadfastly refused to resign.

Kintner himself declined immediate comment. He issued a statement saying, “I am going to wait to comment on the expected letter from the Executive Board until after I have received the letter and read it.” The letter Kintner referred to is the one from the Executive Board containing the request that he resign. It is expected to be sent Tuesday.

Sen. Bob Krist, chairman of the Executive Board, was asked what happens next if Kintner does not resign.

“This is uncharted waters. I would never have expected this or condone any of this behavior from any state senator. And so here we are. We’re going to sail this course and take it where it will take us,” Krist replied.

Krist said that could include calling a meeting of the Legislative Council – a committee consisting of all 49 senators. It takes only 25 of the 49 senators to call such a meeting, but it would take 33 votes to expel Kintner. Or, 33 senators could call themselves into special session, where it would take only 25 votes to impeach and send the case to the Supreme Court. Either way, Sen. Ernie Chambers said the issue is not dead.

“We’re going to all deal with it together, either in a special session or in January,” Chambers said.

January is when the new Legislature, including some veterans and some newly elected in November, is schedule to convene. 



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