A special legislative committee has postponed taking any action against a state senator who confessed to using his state-owned computer to engage in cybersex.
The Executive Board has scheduled another meeting for Monday, October 29th, to further discuss the case against Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion.
Kintner has admitted to using his official computer to have a lurid exchange over Skype with a woman while in a hotel room during a business trip to Boston last year. The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission fined Kintner $1,000 for misuse of a state computer.
The board met at the Capitol Friday morning to discuss the case. No consensus could be reached.
Legislative Speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney told members this legislature should deal with the Kintner case and not allow it to spill over into the next legislative session when a newly convened legislature would have to deal with it.
Hadley says the current legislature needs closure on the issue.
“So I would tell you that I would sign a petition for a special session,” Hadley stated during the meeting. “I will just leave it at that, because I truly believe this happened on our watch.”
A wide range of action is possible, including stripping Kintner of staff, an office, even a parking space. The Unicameral could move to censure Kintner.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha told board members they really only have two options.
“Well, for me, all of these mean just the two: expulsion or impeachment.”
Kintner has so far resisted calls to resign. Speaker Hadley and Gov. Pete Ricketts have asked both formally and informally for his resignation. Kintner has given no indication he is even considering stepping down.
Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango said even though he finds the conduct distasteful, he has found little concern about the issue in his district.
“To me, this is a tempest in a teapot,” Hughes told fellow members. “It’s a very big deal if you’re in Lincoln, if you’re in Omaha, if you’re in the legislature, but quite frankly in western Nebraska they don’t care that an Omaha senator got caught doing something he’s not supposed to be doing.”
Hughes said his constituents are more concerned about property taxes and the drop in commodity prices.
Sen. John Murante of Gretna had a testy exchange with Executive Board chairman, Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha when he suggested Kintner should be allowed a defense before the board considers drastic action against him, defending Kintner’s absence from the meeting.
“If I had received a letter saying that I am invited to come, but I am not allowed to speak, I assure you, I wouldn’t have been here either,” Murante told Krist.
“I never said he was invited and couldn’t speak,” Krist responded.
“You did say invited testimony only and he was not on that list, which means he was not allowed to speak.”
“John, if this were you, you’d have sent me a letter and said I want to speak for myself,” Krist replied. “It speaks to the character.”
Krist told members to be ready to make a decision when they meet on the 29th