Flood campaign: software glitch caused donation report problem

By: - June 17, 2022 9:15 pm

Wall art at the Douglas County Election Commissioner’s Office. (Cate Folsom/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — An official with the congressional campaign of State Sen. Mike Flood is blaming a software “glitch” for several errors in one of the candidate’s recent federal campaign contribution reports.

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to the Flood campaign on June 12, informing them that several donations listed by the campaign exceeded the federal contribution limit for individuals, which is $2,900 per election.

Jessica Flanagain, a campaign consultant for the state senator, said the problem was that a software system, used to input donations, didn’t recognize that some contributions were for the June 28 “special election” slated between Flood and Lincoln State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks to pick someone to fill out the remainder of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s term.

Vacancies in the U.S. House of Representatives are filled by special election, and that election is scheduled June 28 between candidates chosen by the respective Republican and Democratic parties, Flood and Pansing Brooks.

The result of the software glitch was that donors who gave Flood two donations of $2,900, one for the May primary and one for the special election, were listed as giving two “primary” contributions of $2,900 on the campaign’s pre-primary report in April. That exceeded the donation limit for the primary election.

Report to be amended

Flanagain said Thursday the campaign report will be amended and refiled, thus correcting the mistakes.

Fortenberry was found guilty in March of lying to federal investigators probing illegal campaign contributions by a foreigner and failing to amend his FEC report to indicate the source of $30,000 in donations he had received from a Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury. Fortenberry has resigned his post, and awaits sentencing on June 28.

A spokesman for the Pansing Brooks campaign, Chris Triebsch, said it was ironic that both Fortenberry and Flood have issues with their federal election filings. Flanagain called the problem a nothing burger.

Regardless of who wins the special election, both candidates will square off again in the November general election for a two-year term to represent eastern Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District.



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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.