Ben Nelson’s excuses for voting against Wall St. reform met with ‘widespread skepticism’




Remember how the DNC gave over $500,000 to the Nebraska Democratic Party to run ads on behalf of Ben Nelson after he voted for the health care bill last December? We broke that story here.

After Nelson repeatedly voted for the GOP filibuster of the Wall Street reform bill, lots of people started asking why. It sure seems that when controversial votes are on the floor, Nelson’s vote is impacted by money. On health care, it was from the DNC. On Wall Street reform, according to the Washington Post, it’s from Berkshire Hathaway:

Nelson has repeatedly said his objections center on the impact the legislation could have on businesses beyond Wall Street.

But there has been widespread skepticism on Capitol Hill about Nelson’s public explanation for his dissent, and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), added further doubts by saying that Nelson raised concerns about a provision concerning exotic financial instruments called derivatives.

That provision has drawn fire from Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha-based company of billionaire Warren Buffett, and Nelson’s biggest donor over the past decade. (Buffett is a director of The Washington Post Co.)

Berkshire Hathaway or individuals associated with the company have contributed $75,550 to Nelson’s campaign war chest since 2000, according to records filed through the end of March and analyzed by OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics. One Berkshire company, MidAmerican Energy, also contributed $9,600 to Nelson’s Nebraska Leadership PAC.

I still think the DNC should get its money back. Since that health care vote, Nelson votes against the Democratic agenda every chance he gets. And, there will be plenty of other races this fall that could use an extra $500,000. Nelson isn’t even on the ballot til 2012.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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