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Watchdog group files complaint about state treasurer's alleged conflict
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Watchdog group files complaint about state treasurer's alleged conflict

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A leader of a state political watchdog group has filed a complaint against State Treasurer John Murante for failing to report his alleged interest in a company he paid nearly $600,000.

Jack Gould, the issues chairman of Common Cause Nebraska, filed the complaint with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission on Tuesday.

Nebraska treasurer's ad spending has Lincoln lawmaker mulling change

Previously, the Omaha World-Herald reported Murante selected his former employer, Victory Enterprises, to do ads about the treasurer's office without taking bids. The ads promote the state's unclaimed property office and prominently feature Murante.

The Republican state treasurer has cited Victory Enterprises as a source of personal income in his statements of financial interest every year from 2014 to 2018, the most recent report, according to Common Cause.

Gould said Murante should have filed a conflict of interest statement with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission before entering into the Victory contract.

Although he wasn't speaking on the conflict of interest allegation, Murante defended his spending as fulfilling a campaign promise to increase awareness about the office. He said he selected Victory Enterprises because he thought the company’s fees were reasonable and couldn’t be beat.

Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen has said he's looking at expanding a law prohibiting state officers such as the treasurer from running ads with their names during an election year. Hansen said he is considering a bill to expand the prohibition to all years.

“If it’s good policy in election years, that would make it good policy in non-election years, too,” Hansen said.

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