Brenda Council

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Brenda Council
Nebraska State Senate, District 11
Former member
In office
2009 - 2013
Prior offices
President, Omaha Board of Education
1989 - 1993
Bachelor'sUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1974
J.D.Creighton University, 1977
Date of birth1955
Place of birthOmaha, Nebraska
The information about this individual is current as of when his or her last campaign ended. See anything that needs updating? Send a correction to our editors
Brenda J. Council (b. 1955) is a former member of the Nebraska Unicameral, representing District 11 from 2009 to 2013.

Council was a candidate for Mayor of Omaha in 1994 and 1997, and served as 2nd District Representative on the Omaha Board of Education from 1982 to 1993, at one point serving as President.


Council earned her bachelor's degree in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1974 and her J.D. from Creighton University in 1977. Council's professional experience includes working as an attorney and judge on the Nebraska Commission of Industrial Relations from 2001 to 2005. Firms she has worked with includes Polk, Waldman, Wickman and Council; and Kutak Rock.

Committee assignments


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Council served on these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Council served on these committees:



See also: Nebraska State Senate elections, 2012

Council ran for election in the 2012 election for Nebraska State Senate District 11. Council was unopposed in the May 15 primary election and was defeated by Ernie Chambers in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[1][2]

Nebraska State Senate, District 11, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngErnie Chambers 66.9% 6,734
     Nonpartisan Brenda Council Incumbent 33.1% 3,326
Total Votes 10,060


See also: Nebraska State Senate elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Council won election to the 9th District Seat in the Nebraska Senate, defeating Dennis Womack.[3]

Nebraska State Senate, District 9 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Brenda Council 9,234
Dennis Womack 1,725

Campaign donors


In 2008, Council collected $50,692 in donations.[4]

Her five largest contributors in 2008 were:

Donor Amount
Nebraska State Education Association $3,500
Nebraska PAC $2,000
Union Pacific Railroad $2,000
Nebraska Realtors Association $2,000
Nebraska Bankers Association $2,000


Council and her husband, Otha, have two children. Council has a history of involvement with a number of organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Omaha, Charles Drew health Center Foundation, Latino Center of the Midlands, Omaha Chamber of Commerce's Minority Economic Development Council, Executive Committee of the North Omaha Development Project and the Bar of the United States District Court of Colorado/Wisconsin, Court of Appeals 5th/7th/8th/9th/10th Circuits, United States Supreme Court. Council has served on one non-legislative committee, the National Caucus of Black School Board Members.


Gambling scandal

Council pleads guilty to state charges

In September 2012, Council pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from campaign finance reports that prosecutors said did not reveal her use of over $60,000 in donations at out-of-state casinos. She was ordered to pay a $500 fine with court costs. Council continued what was ultimately an unsuccessful re-election bid, saying she was being treated for a gambling addiction.[5]

Council pleads guilty to federal charges

In October 2012, Council's election opponent, Ernie Chambers, filed a federal complaint of wire and mail fraud against her, alleging that she violated federal law in using campaign funds for gambling, as well as in filing false campaign reports. He called Council an "embarrassment to the community," and said, "I can say truthfully I am not a crook." Council responded by saying the issue had been settled, and that discussion of issues in the senate race was being neglected.[6]

Council accepted an agreement in September 2013, entering a guilty plea on the 12th to federal wire fraud, a felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Council was sentenced to three years probation on December 5, 2013. In addition, she was ordered to pay a $500 fine.[7] Council also faced the loss of her law license, as the Counsel for Discipline filed disciplinary charges with the Nebraska Supreme Court prior to the plea agreement, alleging that she committed professional misconduct and, per the state convictions, violated the state ethics code.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

On September 23, 2013, Council agreed to have her law license temporarily suspended by the Nebraska State Bar Association pending a disciplinary hearing.[14]


On December 5, 2013, Council was sentenced to three years' probation in addition to a $500 fine. At the time of her sentencing, the Nebraska Supreme Court had yet to decide on a disciplinary action regarding Council's law license.[15] Court-appointed referee Thomas Thomsen issued a report in late December 2013, recommending that Council's license be suspended for one year with a subsequent two years of probation. A final decision was not due until later in 2014.[16]

On September 12, 2014, the Nebraska Supreme Court disbarred Council from practicing law. The court said that she did not receive a lesser punishment because it would have failed to reinforce the high standards that lawyers and elected officials are held to. Council can seek reinstatement as a lawyer in five years, but the court rarely grants reinstatement.[17]

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External links

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  1. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Statewide Candidate List," accessed February 14, 2014
  2. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Official Report of The Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska - Primary Election, May 15, 2012," accessed May 13, 2014
  3. Nebraska Secretary of State, "2008 General Election Results," accessed April 10, 2014
  4. Follow the Money, "2008 contributions to Brenda Council," accessed November 17, 2014
  5. The Associated Press, "Nebraska senator pleads guilty to two misdemeanors," September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012
  6., "Council, Chambers clash in District 11," October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012
  7. "Former State Sen. Brenda Council sentenced to 3 years' probation," December 6, 2013
  8. Omaha World-Herald, "Brenda Council pleads guilty to wire fraud," September 12, 2013
  9. The North Platte Bulletin, "Former Omaha senator convicted of wire fraud," September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013
  10. Omaha World-Herald, "Ex-State Sen. Brenda Council agrees to plead guilty to fraud charge," September 5, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013
  11. Journal, "Former state senator pleads guilty to wire fraud," September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013
  12. Nebraska Radio Network, "Former state senator pleads guilty to federal wire fraud charge," September 12, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013
  13. Omaha World-Herald, "Brenda Council could lose law license," August 30, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2013
  14. Lincoln Journal-Star, "Brenda Council agrees to law license suspension," September 23, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013
  15. Omaha World-Herald, "Former State Sen. Brenda Council sentenced to 3 years' probation," December 5, 2013. Accessed December 11, 2013
  16. Omaha World-Herald, "Court-appointed referee recommends suspending Brenda Council's law license," December 28, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2014
  17., "Friends of Brenda Council expect her to continue to help people, despite loss of her law license," accessed November 17, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernie Chambers
Nebraska State Senate District 11
Succeeded by
Ernie Chambers