As he gears up his Senate run, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) is drawing heavy attention in the local press for his business dealings.
Last week the Omaha World-Herald dug into Bruning's finances, noting that he owns stakes in various businesses ranging from $12 million to $61 million in total value, while also owing high debt between $10 and $35 million to fund his investments, all accrued during a career as a public servant. Now, Democrats are pouncing on a follow-up story about a real estate deal he cut with the help of executives from a student loan company that he crossed paths with as attorney general.
In 2008, Bruning joined two executives from the company, Nelnet, to purchase a $675,000 lake house. But only a year earlier, he was embroiled in a controversy surrounding the same company when he waived a $1 million settlement with Nelnet over improper business practices. After critics pointed out that Nelnet execs had showered him with $16,000 in donations, he backed off the move.
"To me, it's incredibly tone deaf," Paul Johnson, campaign manager for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), whose seat Bruning is running for, told the World-Herald.
Bruning told the paper he has been friends with the executives in question for years and there is no conflict of interest since the company is not under investigation.