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Unauthorized staffer may have OK'd robocalls urging Capitol protest, Nebraska AG says
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Unauthorized staffer may have OK'd robocalls urging Capitol protest, Nebraska AG says

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Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said Monday that he had no idea that a national attorneys general group of which he is a member had sent out robocalls urging protesters to descend on the U.S. Capitol last week to "stop the steal."

Peterson, speaking at a news conference called by the governor on an unrelated subject, said it is suspected that a staffer with the Republican Attorneys General Association had authorized the robocalls without permission.

The Republican Attorneys General Association, whose stated mission is to support the election of GOP attorneys general, is investigating.

On Saturday, NBC news reported that the fundraising wing of the group had issued robocalls a day before the storming of the U.S. Capitol urging people to protest at the building and to urge Congress to "stop the steal." The fundraising group, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, was also listed as a participating organization on a website set up to promote the rally.

The story prompted State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha to file a public-records request  Sunday with Peterson's office, seeking to discover if any public funds were used to support the robocalls or the GOP organization, and to discover any correspondence between the Nebraska office and the Washington-based groups.

On Sunday evening, Peterson's spokeswoman, Suzanne Gage, said there were no records that would respond to Hunt's request, which prompted Hunt, on the floor of the Legislature on Monday morning, to express skepticism at how such a conclusion could be reached so quickly.

Peterson, when asked at the news conference about Hunt's comment, said the lack of records is an indication of the lack of knowledge his office had about the participation of the Rule of Law Defense Fund.

The attorney general said he learned of the robocalls Thursday at a time he was preparing to draft a bipartisan statement condemning the violent actions at the Capitol with the attorney general of Colorado, a Democrat.

Peterson had issued a statement condemning the violent incursion as an "affront" on the U.S. Constitution on Wednesday.



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