HomeWorld NewsNebraska state senator to resign amid accusations from aide

Nebraska state senator to resign amid accusations from aide

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state Sen. Mike Groene denied accusations Friday that he took inappropriate pictures of a feminine legislative aide with out her information, however he stated he was going to resign subsequent week to keep away from placing his household via a public ordeal.

Groene, conservative Republican who speaks bluntly and infrequently clashes along with his Democratic colleagues, stated he was making ready a resignation letter. Groene, 66, was scheduled to go away the Legislature subsequent 12 months due to time period limits. He just lately stated he deliberate to run for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, however he stated Friday that he would withdraw from that race as properly and retire.

“I’m done. I really don’t care,” Groene informed The Associated Press. “I don’t care about politics anymore. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

His feedback got here after a web based information outlet, Nebraska Sunrise News, reported {that a} longtime legislative aide had filed a grievance accusing Groene of taking inappropriate pictures of her with out her information. The article stated she found the pictures on Groene’s laptop computer, which he had given her to full work-related tasks.

According to the article, the staffer stated Groene despatched the pictures of her to others with e mail captions of a sexual nature. Some of the pictures had been reportedly zoomed-in close-ups of components of her physique, with express topic strains.

Groene admitted that he took pictures of the staffer, however he denied that any of them had been sexual in nature or that they targeted on any particular components of her physique. He additionally denied that he had shared the pictures with anybody else.

He stated the pictures he took had been innocent pictures of staffers, guests and members of the family in his workplace, and that legislative info expertise staff went via his laptop computer and located nothing that will be thought of sexually inappropriate. Groene stated he had a cordial, skilled relationship with the staffer.

“She’s a very modest person, and I guess she was offended” because she wasn’t aware of the photos, he said.

Groene said his aide had worked for him on and off for six years, and that he had given her his personal laptop to clean up unwanted emails. He said he apologized to her after she confronted him a few weeks ago and thought the matter was over. She has transferred to another legislative office.

The staffer declined to comment Friday when contacted by The Associated Press.

In a statement, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said he spoke with Groene on Friday afternoon and “we both agreed it was best for him to resign.”

As a state senator, Groene pushed aggressively to decrease property property taxes and infrequently riled Democratic lawmakers with inflammatory remarks during floor debate.

Groene served for four years as chairman of the Legislature’s Education Committee before he was voted out by his colleagues and replaced with a Democratic state senator. He clashed with Nebraska’s public teachers union even before he was in office, leading a 2006 petition drive to limit local government spending.

Formal complaints about senators or staffers are filed with the Legislature’s Executive Board, but they’re not released to the public unless the committee finds serious misconduct.

The Nebraska Democratic Party blasted Groene in a statement on Friday, calling it another example of how Republican dominance in the state leads to corruption and harassment.

“This is despicable and the latest in a string of inappropriate behavior by Republican officials,” said Jane Kleeb, the Nebraska Democratic Party’s chairwoman. “Groene should resign and the public deserves to know all the other senators or staff involved.”

Kleeb stated Republican legislative leaders want to reply main questions concerning the ordeal, resembling whether or not the staffer was requested not to share info publicly.

Kleeb pointed to a number of current scandals involving Republican office-holders, together with the indictment of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, State Auditor Charlie Janssen taking unusually lengthy work lunches at a Lincoln sports activities bar, and former state Sen. Bill Kintner resigning after behaving inappropriately in workplace greater than as soon as.

The Nebraska Democratic Party confronted its personal candidate scandal involving former U.S. Senate candidate Chris Janicek, who made lewd feedback a few staffer in textual content messages. Party leaders publicly disclosed Janicek’s habits after they acquired that staffer’s grievance, they usually withdrew assets from his marketing campaign and demanded that he resign.

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Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte

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