Brenda Council

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Brenda Council
Council.jpg
Nebraska State Senate District 11
Former member
In office
2009 - 2013
PartyNon-partisan
Compensation
Base salary$12,000/year
Per diem$109/day for those living 50+ miles from capitol, otherwise $39/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Term limits2 terms (8 years)
Prior offices
President, Omaha Board of Education
1989 - 1993
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1974
J.D.Creighton University, 1977
Personal
Birthday1955
Place of birthOmaha, Nebraska
ProfessionAttorney
CandidateVerification
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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.

Biography

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

2011-2012

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

2009-2010

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

Elections

2012

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

2008

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

2008

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

Personal

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.

Controversies

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 must pay a $500 fine.[7] Council also faces 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]

Sentencing

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 is not due until later in 2014.[16]

Recent news

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References

  1. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Statewide Candidate List," September 21, 2012. 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 29 June 2012
  3. Nebraska Secretary of State - 2008 General Election Results
  4. 2008 contributions to Brenda Council
  5. The Associated Press, "Nebraska senator pleads guilty to two misdemeanors," September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  6. Associated Press, "Council fires back at Chambers in state senate race," October 15, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  7. Omaha.com "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. Associated Press, "Former Omaha 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
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernie Chambers
Nebraska State Senate District 11
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Ernie Chambers