Advisory Opinion 187

Subject:        Conflicts of Interest


Requested By:        Douglas D. Christensen, Commissioner, Nebraska Department of Education


Questions Presented:       Does a potential conflict of interest exist by virtue of the Commissioner of Education’s appointment to the board of directors of a non-profit corporation which may provide contractual services for the Nebraska Department of Education, and if so, what actions are required in the event of such contract?


Advisory Opinion 186

Subject:        Campaign Financing / Use of Public Resources


Requested By:        Pamela A. Redfield, State Senator, District 12


Questions Presented:       May a member of the Legislature use public resources to produce a weekly newsletter sent out to constituents and newspapers by means of electronic mail and/or U.S. mail if the subject of any given newsletter edition during any given week of issue is a ballot question?


Conclusions:          Yes, but see Analysis.

Advisory Opinion 185

SUBJECT:  Campaign Financing / Use of Campaign Funds

REQUESTED BY:  Vicki Powell, Campaign Manager, Johanns for Governor Committee

QUESTIONS PRESENTED:  (1) When may a gubernatorial campaign pay the campaign expenses of a potential lieutenant governor candidate? (2) What expenses pertaining to the lieutenant governor’s campaign can be paid by the governor candidate committee?

CONCLUSIONS:  See analysis.

Advisory Opinion 184

SUBJECT: Campaign Financing/Use of Campaign Funds.


REQUESTED BY: Randall Ritnour, treasurer, Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA) Committee.


QUESTIONS PRESENTED: (1) May a ballot question committee use campaign funds for the purpose of litigation in support of the ballot question? (2) May a ballot question committee use campaign funds for the purpose of engaging in public debate in support of the ballot question?


CONCLUSIONS: As to Question 1: see analysis.  As to Question 2: see analysis.


Advisory Opinion 183

Subject: Conflicts of Interest/ Use of Office for Financial Gain


Requested By: Carolyn Johnsen, Reporter and Producer, Nebraska Public Radio


Question Presented: Can a reporter for a state owned radio network use information broadcast by the network to write a book as a private project?


Conclusion: Yes.


Advisory Opinion 182

Subject: Conflicts of Interest/Use of Office for Financial Gain


Requested by: Janet L. Killiam, Field Representative, Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing


Question Presented: Can an employee of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing operate a private business which sells devices to the hearing impaired?


Conclusion: Yes, but see analysis.


Advisory Opinion 179

REQUESTED BY: Con Bernbeck, Stanton County Commissioner

QUESTION: Does a county commissioner have a conflict of interest as to the application of a feeder pig operation for a conditional use permit as the result of certain business dealings with the operation in his private capacity?


No, but see analysis.


Advisory Opinion 178

REQUESTED BY: Greg Vasek, Treasurer, The Breslow Committee

QUESTION: Can a candidate committee solicit and accept contributions via the Internet?




The Breslow Committee is the candidate committee of gubernatorial candidate John Breslow. The committee has established a website. The committee is currently using the website for the purpose of providing information about the candidate. The committee proposes to use this website for the purpose of soliciting and receiving campaign contributions from users of the website.