My Response to Don Walton’s Feature on the Career of Senator Ben Nelson

January 2, 2013


This Senator Nelson retrospective by Don Walton is yet another example of DW’s brand of gentle journalism and is a truly fascinating read.

This sentence is downright Catheresque: “Down through the trees outside the front door, you can catch a glimpse of Nebraska’s signature river reflecting the late afternoon sunlight.”

Having said that, America still needs investigative reporters who do “enterprise” + “watchdog” journalism that holds politicians accountable.

Senator Ben Nelson is known in parts of Washington, D.C. as Senator Ben “Nelnet” because of his unwavering – and glaringly misguided – support for one of the country’s most predatory student loan lenders during a shameful period when the Lincoln-based company was fleecing the American taxpayer and trying to get away with more than one BILLION bucks taken from the backs of several generations of students who are now stuck with life-altering, unnecessary, unfair debt that prevents them from starting families and buying condos even as the Good Senator contemplates a stunning new addition to his what, second – or third or fourth – home and Nelnet’s top titans spend their time luxuriating in vacation oceanside Maine homes and at Nebraska’s opulent “Big Sandy” gated “community” developed by: you guessed Nelnet’s own, Mike Dunlap. The Nelson/Nelnet “enterprise” story – that includes A.G. Jon Bruning, wealthy, Democratic uber-lobbyist Kim Robak, UN-L’s Chancellor Harvey Perlman, the NU Regents, and the Top Dogs at the University of Nebraska Foundation [Check out the connection between Union Bank, the Barkley Trust, 2015 Vision, etc. etc. etc.] – has yet to be written/published although I’ve pretty much connected all the shocking dots.

Beyond that, while I’m not questioning what Senator Nelson after-the-fact reports about what he INTENDED with respect to the Medicare exemption, the RECORD reveals – several times – that Senator Nelson never once referred to the exemption being a “placeholder” until the whole thing – fueled by his ridiculous rivalry with Governor Heineman – blew up in his face.

In fact, in one interview the Senator crowed about how he learned his “negotiating” skills to get the Nebraska exception – besting Louisiana’s Senator Mary Landrieu who secured a measley $300 hundred million dollar Cajun exemption – during his obscenely lucrative work with the good old insurance industry.

I’m not sure there are many Senators who have hurt as many students as he has. A fitting new job: Senator Nelson is going to “work” in one of D.C.’s destructive “lawbbying” firms where lawyers bill their brains out, to quote the whistleblower from Arthur Andersen, and in that disgusting process, make a mockery of America’s once-noble democratic process.

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