Ben Sasse’s Amnesty Double-Dealing

Joe Herring Independent Policy Analyst
Font Size:

Ben Sasse — leading candidate for U.S. Senate in Nebraska — appears to be a fraud, and we know this thanks to one of his own deep-pocketed donors, Mike Simmonds.

Mr. Simmonds is a Republican businessman who built his wealth in franchised fast food. He has been a regular fixture on the campaign money-trail in Nebraska elections for many years.  He is quite wealthy, and is known for a willingness to part with a bunch of that wealth to further the political careers of candidates who share his views.

Consequently, nearly every candidate for office in Nebraska makes a stop at Mike Simmonds’ door at one time or another. One such solicitation resulted in an email from Mr. Simmonds that established some pretty clear ground rules for seeking his support in this election cycle.

In the email, Mr. Simmonds declares he will employ a litmus test for any candidate in this election cycle. To gain his contribution, a candidate would have to support “complete amnesty” for every illegal immigrant in the U.S.

He also noted that this test might preclude him from supporting any candidate at all, but indicated clearly that this requirement was non-negotiable.

Chris Scott, from the Political Insider’s Report in Omaha uncovered this email as part of his investigation into a subject about which I have written previously here at the Daily Caller – when the citizens of Fremont Nebraska successfully fought against their own city leaders and elected representatives to uphold an ordinance barring landlords from knowingly renting to illegal immigrants, and sanctioning employers for hiring them.

The City of Fremont, along with the local Chamber of Commerce and Midland University, fought tooth and nail to thwart the will of Fremont’s citizens, attacking the ordinance, both in court and through two special elections. This is the same Midland University that boasts Ben Sasse as its President.

Midland University, represented by Ben Sasse’s second-in-command while Ben launched his campaign for Senate, schemed with City Council members, the Mayor and the Chamber of Commerce on how to overturn the results of the special election that had put the ordinance in place.

After the ordinance survived numerous court challenges, the city, along with Midland College, then forced the citizens to endure a second special election, during which they engaged in some very unseemly and potentially illegal tactics to get their way.

Despite outspending the pro-ordinance citizen groups by more than ten to one, the city leaders and their Midland College allies failed miserably, losing their bid to repeal the ordinance by an even larger margin than when the ordinance first passed.

It is inconceivable that Midland’s involvement in an effort so significant and polarizing would’ve occurred without the knowledge and cooperation of the college’s president, Ben Sasse.

Which brings us to Ben’s apparent lie.

Sasse, according to his website, and numerous speeches and interviews, is dead-set against amnesty for illegal immigrants. He even suggested building a wall on the border, Israel-style, saying about the problem of illegal immigration, “This isn’t rocket science.”

So, given the oft-stated position of candidate Ben Sasse, it is reasonable to ask how those statements square with permitting the use of his college’s resources to ease the way for further illegal immigration in his own hometown.

Revelations like these are an embarrassing problem for a Senate candidate in a solidly red state to be sure, but a look at candidate Sasse’s campaign finance filings reveals a far thornier one.

A familiar name appears, that of Mike Simmonds, who the document shows has given the maximum allowable donation to Mr. Sasse.

The question begs an answer.  How did this self-acclaimed anti-amnesty, tough on illegal immigration candidate end up with the maximum allowable donation from “litmus test” Mike Simmonds?  It would seem he either lied to Mr. Simmonds then, or has been lying to the voters all along.

Given his involvement with the effort to tank the Fremont ordinance, the answer appears pretty clear to me.

Someone ought to ask Freedomworks and Glenn Beck what they think about that, because neither Mike Simmonds nor Ben Sasse has responded to my requests for comment.