Krist campaign files request for information on being turned away from Tecumseh prison

July 14, 2018

Sen. Bob Krist’s campaign for governor wants to know why the acting warden of Tecumseh State Correctional Institution blocked Krist from having a news conference in front of the prison.

Friday, the campaign formally requested Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services hand over correspondence related to the refusal.

Krist’s campaign filed a Nebraska open-records request to the Office of the Governor of Nebraska and the department.

The request asks for “all correspondence — email, letters, memoranda — to or from Ricketts, or any member of his staff, from July 9 to the present regarding the Tecumseh prison, Krist, Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes, department staff, or news media availability or access at any state correctional facility in Nebraska.”

Thursday, acting Warden April Bulling-June told Krist she could not allow media on the grounds for a news conference. Bulling-June, along with two corrections officers, then asked Krist to leave the parking lot, he said.

Along with that, someone had parked a state-owned Chevy Suburban on the grass in front of the Tecumseh prison sign in front of the prison.

“What is the (governor) trying to hide?” Krist said in a news release. “Under state law a state senator is allowed to visit any correctional facility at any time.

“I want to know who directed the corrections staff to kick me and the news media off the property.

“This type of my-way-or-the-highway approach to running our prisons has to stop. Pete Ricketts is not managing state government like a business as he promised. If this were a business, the shareholders would have fired him by now. This lack of transparency is another example of why he has lost all credibility when it comes to fixing our failing prison system,” Krist said.

Matthew Trail, spokesman for the Ricketts’ campaign, said: “For Krist to assert a legal right to enter a maximum-security facility as a state official for the purpose of staging a campaign political stunt is a rank abuse of power.”

Bulling-June told the Journal Star on Thursday that she could not allow media on the grounds for a news conference without prior notification. Krist moved the media to a roadway entrance to the prison.

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