By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN – A retired Methodist minister who ran against Bill Kintner for the Legislature last year, and might run against next year, is calling on the state senator to give campaign donation he received from a former sex shop owner and convicted felon to charity.
The Rev. Mel Luetchens, a retired United Methodist minister, said Kintner should disavow a major campaign contributor, “Doctor John” Haltom and donate the equivalent of Haltom’s $1,349 donations of campaign signs to a charity that advocates for women, children and families. Nebraska Watchdog first reported on Kintner’s contributions from Haltom on Friday.
Last year, Luetchens, a Democrat from Murdock, ran for the District 2 seat now held by Kintner, finishing fourth in a field of six in the primary. Today, he said he’s beginning a listening tour to decide whether to run against Kintner next year.
He also said Kintner’s “professed conservative and religious convictions don’t carry over to his solicitation of contributors” since the chain of adult novelty stores Haltom formerly owned sold pornographic paraphernalia and Haltom has been convicted of distributing obscene literature.
Luetchens noted that Kintner has not apologized for accepting $1,349 worth of signs from Haltom. Kintner told Nebraska Watchdog it would be pretty difficult to give the signs back.
“I’ve counseled with individuals and families who have experienced abuse and addictions,” Luetchens said in a release. “This is a blatant disregard for the scourge of pornography. Senator Kintner should immediately apologize to the families of our district and give the money to a nonprofit organization.”
Kintner declined to comment on Luetchens’ call for an apology and charity donation, saying Luetchens is “playing politics.” Kintner said although he is a Christian, he ran for the Legislature as a “Reagan conservative” not a “Christian conservative.”
He said he’s going to do the business of the people and “reign in spending” while liberals pound him in the run-up to the election next year.
Luetchens said he was taught the most important thing a leader can do is listen to those around them.
“Clearly Bill Kintner does not share the values of our community, especially in relation to his respect and appreciation for women and the family,” he said. “But that alone does not mean I should run. I need to take the time to listen to voters and learn about their concerns and vision for the future of our district.”
Kintner is a self-employed Papillion market researcher who is married to Lauren Kintner, director of the governor’s Policy Research Office. He was endorsed last year by Gov. Dave Heineman, who has declined to comment on Kintner’s contributions from Haltom.
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