Embattled state Sen. Bill Kintner is accusing Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers of targeting his wife in a recent rhyming memo circulated around the Capitol.

Chambers has authored a dozen such "Kintner-grams" in the weeks since Kintner admitted using his state-owned laptop to have cybersex with a stranger during a trip to Boston last year.

But the latest writing, dated Tuesday, "is a new low," Kintner said in a news release.

The three-page memo includes a vivid dramatization of Kintner's encounter and a blurred-out photo of his wife, Lauren, and questions whether the Papillion senator engaged with the stranger because he was dissatisfied with his "wifey." It also appears to allude to Lauren Kintner's struggle with ovarian cancer.

Bill Kintner accused Chambers of attacking and making fun of his wife and her medical condition.

"This is beyond two politicians arguing over policy or personal differences," Kintner told the Journal Star on Thursday. "This is a politician going after another politician's wife."

"I expect Chambers to be a man and apologize to my wife," he said in the news release.

Chambers could not immediately be reached for comment, although he has said his goal with the memo was to portray Lauren Kintner as a victim of her husband's behavior and his refusal to resign from office.

In the memo, Chambers compared Lauren Kintner to other political spouses who "play the role of 'Forgiving Wife.'"

Lauren Kintner is chief policy adviser to Gov. Pete Ricketts, who joined leaders in the Legislature calling for Bill Kintner to step down after the cybersex scandal was made public.

Kintner has refused, saying he apologized to God and his wife, and later to his fellow senators and constituents.

His decision to remain in office has vexed many fellow lawmakers. The Legislature's Executive Board has held two public hearings to weigh responses ranging from punishment to impeachment, and last week issued a letter telling Kintner to resign by Sept. 2 or face consequences. 

He again refused to step down before the deadline, but the Executive Board hasn't responded, and canceled a meeting set for this week to discuss the issue.

Chambers, a member of the Executive Board, has said he would be unsatisfied with any action short of removing Kintner from the Legislature.

Kintner and Chambers, outspoken personalities from opposite ends of the political spectrum, have sparred for years. And even before the cybersex scandal, Kintner was a regular target of Chambers' writings.

"I don't particularly read these things," Kintner said Thursday. 

A conservative activist from Omaha accused Chambers last month of misusing public resources by printing the memos with state government letterhead using a copying machine at the Capitol.

That complaint cites the same law under which Kintner was fined $1,000 on Aug. 5 for misusing his state laptop for cybersex.

Now, Kintner said, "I'm being a man and standing up for my wife, and that's the right thing to do."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7234 or zpluhacek@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @zachami.


Assistant city editor

Zach Pluhacek is an assistant city editor.

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