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Jon Bruning

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Jon Bruning
Jon Bruning.jpg
Attorney General of Nebraska
In office
Term ends
Years in position 13
PredecessorDon Stenberg (R)
Base salary$95,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 5, 2002
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$2,890,516
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Nebraska State Senate
High schoolLincoln Southeast High School (1987)
Bachelor'sUniversity of Nebraska (1990)
J.D.University of Nebraska - Lincoln College of Law (1994)
Date of birthApril 20, 1969
Place of birthLincoln, Nebraska
ReligionUnited Methodist
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Jon Bruning (born April 30, 1969, in Lincoln, Nebraska) is the 31st and current Attorney General of Nebraska. A Republican, he was first elected to the office in 2002 and was subsequently re-elected to the statewide position in 2006 and 2010, both times unopposed. He ran for re-election as attorney general in the 2014 elections.[1]

Bruning was one of 26 attorneys general who sued the federal government over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, claiming it was unconstitutional. Bruning's office led the fight against a provision of the law that requires religious-affiliated organizations to include birth control in their health insurance coverage.[2]

Previously, Bruning was a member of the Nebraska State Legislature. First elected in 1996, he served the public in that position for a total of six years-four years for his first term then two years for his second before being elected Attorney General.[3] Bruning ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson, but he was defeated by Deb Fischer in the May 15, 2012 primary. [4]


Immediately upon receiving his law degree, Bruning went to work for both the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. For two years, beginning in 1995, he served as general counsel for Vital Learning Corporation, an Omaha-based business that provides educational services, personal business development, and management training for its customers. From 1999 until 2003, Bruning also worked as general counsel to Tagge-Rutherford Financial Group.[5]

Bruning is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, and chairs the Nebraska Crime Commission.


  • Lincoln Southeast High School (1987) ranked 1st out of 487 graduates
  • Bachelor's degree - University of Nebraska (1990) with High Distinction and Honors
  • Juris Doctorate - University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law (1994) with Distinction

Political career

Attorney General of Nebraska (2002 - present)

Bruning was first elected to this position in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2010.[5]

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

On the same morning President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform bill, which narrowly passed the United States House of Representatives just two days before, Bruning and twelve other Attorneys General, all but one being Republican, filed suit against "the federal government to stop the massive health care overhaul, claiming it's unconstitutional." [6] [7] He remarked that Obamacare "tramples on individual liberty and dumps on the states the burden of an unfunded mandate that taxpayers cannot afford." [8]

Illegal immigration

Nearly two weeks after the United States Justice Department filed suit against the state of Arizona over its anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070 - The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB 1070), contending that it "interferes with federal immigration responsibilities," Bruning joined eight other Republican state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the measure. [9] The Nebraska Attorney General argued that measures such as the one Arizona instituted are necessary since, "under the current situation, the states have lost control over their borders and are left to guess at the reality of the law." [10]


Personal finances

Media reports in January 2012 regarding Bruning and fellow Republican candidate Don Stenberg centered around their personal finances. State Treasurer Stenberg criticized Bruning for becoming wealthy while in office as attorney general. Reports indicated that Stenberg was also a millionaire, but he said he earned his money in the private sector before taking office.[11]

Nebraska State Senator (1996 - 2002)

Bruning was first elected to the Nebraska State Legislature in 1996 and served the public in that position for a total of six years-four years for his first term then two years for his second before being elected Attorney General.[3]



See also: Nebraska attorney general election, 2014

Bruning ran for a fourth term as attorney general in 2014.[12] Before declaring his bid for re-election on March 4, 2013, Bruning considered entering the 2014 U.S. Senate race to succeed outgoing freshman Sen. Mike Johanns.[13][14] Bruning had briefly explored a gubernatorial bid as well, but decided against it in Jan. 2013.[15][16] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: United States Senate elections in Nebraska, 2012

Bruning ran for U.S. Senate in 2012.[17] He was defeated by Deb Fischer in the primary. [18]

  • Primary election

The primary took place on May 15, 2012.[19]

US Senate - Nebraska Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDeb Fischer 6.7% 79,941
Jon Bruning 58.6% 701,067
Don Stenberg 30.2% 361,727
Pat Flynn 4.3% 51,413
Spencer Zimmerman 0.1% 1,601
Sharyn Elander 0.1% 1,294
Total Votes 1,197,043

Campaign finance violations

In May 2013, Bruning agreed to pay a $19,000 civil penalty for campaign finance violations during his 2012 campaign. In question was an email Bruning sent on November 30, 2010 seeking donations that said, “Please help me defeat Ben Nelson in 2012 by making a contribution today. Together we can take back this country and bring true Nebraska values to Washington.”[20]

The Federal Election Commission said that this showed Bruning "had decided to be a candidate for federal office” at a date earlier than reflected in his filings, making his filings late. He was found to have failed to file a statement of candidacy in a timely manner as well as a statement of organization, the 2010 year-end report, and the financial activity of the Jon Bruning Exploratory Committee.[20]

Campaign themes

On his campaign website, Bruning listed seven issues. They were:[21]

  • The Constitution
  • On his website, Bruning said, "This country was built by pioneering individuals, not a bloated bureaucracy. We need to return our focus to the protection of individual rights and the importance of individual responsibility. As Attorney General, I’ve been proud to carry the banner of the state in challenging federal overreach through the courts – pushing back against the constant expansion of the federal government into our daily lives. From Obamacare to onerous regulations coming from an alphabet soup list of agencies, the federal government is attempting to regulate everything that moves, employs, breathes, and manufactures. This unprecedented expansion of the federal government must be stopped."
  • Protecting the Unborn
  • On his website, Bruning said, "Life begins at conception, period. Judges who wish to legislate from the bench and create interpretations of our Constitution which defile its intent must not be confirmed to serve in our courts."
  • Agriculture
  • On his website, Bruning said, "We need less suspicion and more common sense in our approach to the environmental regulation of production agriculture. Given EPA’s recent efforts to exponentially expand its regulatory authority, further Congressional oversight is necessary."
  • Overturning Obamacare
  • On his website, Bruning said, "In passing this law, Congress overstepped its Constitutional bounds when it required every American to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. Never before has Congress regulated a non-activity or penalized Americans for doing nothing. Simply put, this law is unconstitutional and financially unsustainable. Through my continued fight against this law, I will vigorously defend our individual liberties guaranteed us by the Constitution."
  • Taxes and Spending
  • On his website, Bruning said, "Any future success of this country is predicated upon reducing the debt, deficit and reigning in federal spending. Righting the fiscal ship is essential if we are to reduce the burden already placed on future generations. Nebraskans operate within their budgets at home and the federal government should do the same. We must cut spending and no program is off the table. We also need a zero tolerance policy toward earmarks. Earmarks encourage wasteful spending and I won’t support them."
  • 2nd Amendment
  • On his website, Bruning said, "The right to bear arms guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America should never be compromised."
  • Illegal Immigration
  • On his website, Bruning said, "The flood of illegal immigrants into this country has burdened our public schools, hospitals, prisons, and social programs, costing taxpayers billions of dollars. America’s porous borders are also targets for terrorists and drug smugglers who present a great risk to our national security. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to genuinely address the problem or find viable solutions to the problem. That’s why, in addition to the federal government’s efforts, I continue to support state enforcement of immigration laws." [21]


See also: Nebraska Attorney General election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - Republican Primary and General Elections [22]
  • Jon Bruning ran unopposed in both contests


On Monday, March 15, 2007, Bruning announced that he had organized an exploratory committee regarding the possibility of running for the United States Senate if Chuck Hagel chose to retire or seek another political office. A month later, citing his displeasure with Hagel's stance on the war in Iraq, Bruning suggested that he was willing to challenge the two-term Republican congressman in the primary if he ran for a third time. It never came to that, however, as Hagel ultimately decided in September 2007 to announce his retirement effective at the end of the congressional term. And despite raising well over $1 million in campaign contributions, Bruning ended his senatorial run in November 2007 and endorsed his Republican primary challenger, United States Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. The Nebraska Attorney General denied basing his decision on the wishes of the Republican leadership, claiming rather that he dropped out because he and Secretary Johanns "agreed on the issues and he didn’t want to campaign against someone he liked."[23]


  • Jon Bruning ran unopposed in both contests


  • Jon Bruning ran unopposed in this contest
2002 Race for Attorney General - General Election [27]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Jon Bruning 66.0%
     Democratic Party Mike Meister 34.0%
Total Votes 443,499

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Bruning is available dating back to 2000. Based on available campaign finance records, Bruning raised a total of $2,890,516 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 23, 2013.[28]

Jon Bruning's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 NE Attorney General Not up for election $113,790
2010 NE Attorney General Won $922,735
2008 NE Attorney General Not up for election $307,329
2006 NE Attorney General Won $761,995
2004 NE Attorney General Not up for election $250,453
2002 NE Attorney General Won $420,650
2000 NE State Senate Won $113,564
Grand Total Raised $2,890,516


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Jon Bruning's donors each year.[29] Click [show] for more information.

Recent news

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Bruning currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife of fifteen years, Deonne Niemack, and their two children, Lauren and Jack. He is also a practicing United Methodist.[5]

Contact info

Capitol Address:
Office of the Attorney General
2115 State Capitol
Lincoln, NE 68509


Phone: (402) 471-2682
Toll Free Phone: (800) 727-6432
Fax: (402) 471-3297

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named reelec
  2., "Bruning fights birth control rule," February 8, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Project Vote Smart "Jon Bruning's Biography," Accessed October 2, 2012
  4. Nebraska Secretary of State "Election Results" May 16, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Attorney General of Nebraska's Official Page "Jon Bruning," Accessed October 2, 2012
  6. Associated Press "13 attorneys general sue over health care overhaul" 23 March, 2010
  7. YouTube "NE Atty Gen Jon Bruning discusses health care with Greta van Sustern" 24 March, 2010
  8. Journal Star "AG Bruning says health reform violates Constitution" 22 March, 2010
  9. FOX News "Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law" 6 July, 2010
  10. Omaha World-Herald "Bruning defends Arizona law" 15 July, 2010
  11. "Exclusive: Bruning not only millionaire in U.S. Senate race," January 28, 2012
  12. Omaha World-Herald, "Jon Bruning to seek re-election as Nebraska's top prosecutor," March 4, 2013
  13. Politico, "Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns to retire," February 18, 2013
  14. Roll Call, "Heineman, Fortenberry Considering Senate Run in Nebraska, "February 18, 2013
  15. World Herald-Bureau, "Mike Flood launches bid for governor's office in 2014," November 13, 2012
  16., "Clare says he’s not running for governor either," January 11, 2013
  17. Huffington Post "Nebraska GOP Senate Candidate Jon Bruning Hires Man Behind Infamous 'Willie Horton' Ad," September 29, 2011
  18. Nebraska Secretary of State "Election Results" May 16, 2012
  19. Nebraska Secretary of State "Canvass Report" Accessed October 11, 2012
  20. 20.0 20.1 Roll Call, "Email Trips Up Nebraska Attorney General, Agrees to $19,000 Penalty," May 16, 2013
  21. 21.0 21.1 Jon Bruning for Senate "Issues" May 6, 2012
  22. Nebraska Secretary of State - Official Results of 2010 Primary Election
  23. Journal Star "Bruning quits Senate race" 19 Nov. 2007
  24. Nebraska Secretary of State - Official Results of 2006 Primary Election
  25. Nebraska Secretary of State - Official Results of 2006 General Election
  26. Nebraska Secretary of State - Official Results of 2002 Primary Election
  27. Nebraska Secretary of State - Official Results of 2002 General Election
  28. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Jon Bruning," accessed May 23, 2013
  29. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015

Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Avery
Nebraska State Senate
Succeeded by
Ray Mossey
Preceded by
Don Stenberg (R)
Nebraska Attorney General
Succeeded by