State Senator Fined $500 for Misuse of Campaign Donations

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State Senator Brenda Council pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of abuse of public records for failing to report expenditures out of her campaign account.

Prosecutors say Council misused more than $60,000 in campaign donations at casinos.

Senator Council was sentenced to pay a $250 fine for each of the two counts of abuse of public records. In addition, she was ordered to pay court costs.

Council has apologized for making an error in judgment, but she plans to continue running for re-election in northeast Omaha. Council says she's getting treatment for a gambling addiction.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced the two misdemeanor charges last week.

Bruning says bank records and casino security videos show that Council withdrew a total of $63,052 at casinos on several occasions and then deposited $36,166 in cash back into the campaign fund. Council has agreed to repay the $27,000 shortfall.

Council is running against her predecessor, Ernie Chambers, who was the longest-serving member of the Nebraska Legislature.

“Senator Council knowingly filed false campaign finance statements,” said Bruning. “Today’s guilty plea helps to ensure she is held accountable for her unlawful actions.”