GOP responds to calls for Janssen's resignation with accusations against Sen. Krist

LINCOLN, Neb. - With just 50 days left before Election Day, both parties appear to be involved in similar scandals. An investigation revealed State Auditor Charlie Janssen spent several hours during the work day at a sports bar, taking several "long lunches" that often involved drinking beer.

Now, the GOP released videos showing Senator Krist apparently pouring himself a drink in a Lincoln restaurant, and coupled them with a news release accusing Senator Krist being a heavy drinker.

After Janssen issued an apology, Democrats repeatedly called for him to resign. At a press conference Monday, Democratic Chair Jane Kleeb again called for Janssen's resignation.

"Janssen should resign and pay back taxpayers all the money he owes them," Kleeb said.

The GOP responded by releasing three videos. One, timestamped on Mar. 23 at 1:56 p.m. reportedly shows Krist with another senator at Billy's Restaurant, on a day the legislature was in session. However, records show the Legislature had adjourned at 12:23. Krist is not shown taking a drink.

The other two videos are timestamped for May 7. The GOP said one, at 3:31, shows Krist actually walking behind the bar to pour himself a drink. The next, timestamped about an hour and a half later, reportedly shows Krist getting into his car and driving away.

While the legislature was not in session on that day, the Nebraska GOP said Krist should not be drinking.

"He still represents 38,000 constituents, and he needs to be available to help them during the day, " said Kenny Zoeller, Executive Director of the Nebraska Republican Party.

"Sen. Krist's habit of heavy drinking is an open secret in the Capitol", Zoeller said in the GOP release.

"He has a nickname around the Capitol that's 'Tequila Bob,' and I think that's really telling," Zoeller said.

The Nebraska GOP said someone sent in the three videos in May, and it immediately sent them to the Liquor Control Commission.

"We didn't necessarily think that it was newsworthy until the allegations with Mr. Janssen came out on Friday," Zoeller said. "We just want to make sure both elected officials are held to the same standard."

The GOP said it will not call for Krist's resignation.

"We just want him to issue an apology," Zoeller said. "We will let the voters decide whether or not his drinking is a problem when they vote in November."

Krist's campaign said he doesn't need to apologize because the videos show nothing wrong.

"Frankly those videos don't show anything they're alleging," said spokesperson Dan Parsons. "They show Senator Krist and another senator after the session was adjourned having lunch. Governor Ricketts ought to be held accountable for this ungrounded, unfounded attack."

We reached out to the Democratic Party asking for reaction about the videos and whether it thinks Krist should issue an apology. The statement we received, attributed to Jane Kleeb said:

"Pete Ricketts should air his complaints face-to-face with Sen. Krist instead of hiding behind a GOP "spokesman." But Rickets has backed out of having more debates with Sen. Krist. Gov. Ricketts said today that he told Charlie Janssen -- who was shown by an Omaha World-Herald investigation to show up to work late and then repeatedly spend four-hour "lunches" drinking beer with his buddies -- that he should go to his office each day and do his job. What a concept!"

Currently, there are no rules against elected officials drinking at work, but members of both parties said they would like to see policies put in place during the legislative session.

"It's really troubling now that two officials, from both parties, have seen these come to light," Zoeller said. "It doesn't matter who you are, you really shouldn't be drinking on the job."

Kleeb echoed those sentiments, saying, "If anyone else drank on the job like that, they would be fired. Janssen can't be fired, but he can be asked to resign."