Born in Neligh, Nebraska, DeCamp joined the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was later assigned to serve as an aide to former CIA director William Colby, who was Deputy Ambassador to Vietnam at the time. Beginning his campaign for election while still stationed in Vietnam, DeCamp was elected and served four terms as a Nebraska state senator, from 1971 to 1987. In the May 2006 election, he was rebuffed in his attempt to return to the Legislature. He is currently a practicing attorney in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Wiki doesn't give much detail.
In a link I posted elsewhere, I found that pages later, deCamp talks about some of his history as a Nebraska Senator. Aside from his huge ego that's on display, what caught my attention was that as state Senator, deCamp talks about his role in changing Nebraska banking regulations, which is interesting:
...Over the next several years, we had little contact. Bobby entered the restaurant business and -- with a little help from a law I helped amend, that let an individual obtain more liquor licenses than were allowed until then -- began to do quite well. He became a significant personality in Lincoln, the state capital. Meanwhile, I was having more legislative success than I had dreamed possible.
It is quite something, to look back at the headlines from that era, in the same World-Herald that today is trying to destroy me for defending the Franklin victims: "'Gladiator' DeCamp is Tall in Capitol Arena: Fast-Moving Senator Wields Vast Influence" -- from March 26, 1978. "Kingpin or Carpenter-like, John DeCamp Wields Power in Legislature" -- from April 1978; here, C. David Kotok chronicled what he called my "rise to legislative kingpin." My influence on events was such, said Kotok, that "The 1978 Legislature even has been dubbed 'the DeCamp session' by some." The authors of those two articles, Kotok and Frank Partsch, today write most of the World- Herald's editorials, many of which have viciously attacked me.
Bobby and I next had quite a bit to do with each other in 1982, during the Nebraska gubernatorial race. I was there when the state's leading powerbrokers anointed Bobby as the next governor, in fact it was I who suggested they anoint him. That is a fascinating story, but let me first give a little necessary back ground.
Starting in the mid-1970s, a debate over the structure of Nebraska's banking industry emerged as the issue which would dominate state politics for a decade. Officially dubbed "Multi-Bank," the issue was a turf battle of monumental proportions, over who was going to own the banks in Nebraska, and what competition was going to be allowed in the purchase of existing banks.
On one side were the "Independents," who advocated owner- ship of banks by individuals. The Independents were very strong in Nebraska, as in many rural states. On a per capita basis, as I recall, we probably had more banks than almost any other state in the United States.
On the opposing side were the "Big Banks," particularly those based in Omaha, the state's largest city. Nebraska law forbade holding companies, which could own many banks. If holding companies were allowed, the big banks would naturally start buying up a lot of small banks -- "Multi-Bank." That was the issue.
In 1976, I won the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, which controlled banking, finance and insurance in Nebraska. That is, I thought I won it. I know today that I was merely the bright young legislator selected by powerful men in business and politics, to aid their efforts to change the banking structure in Nebraska.
I believed at the time, that the banking structure changes I was proposing, which would allow the big banks to get bigger, were good for Nebraska. I thought they were necessary, as well as probably inevitable.
It was this battle over bank structure, that next brought Bobby and me together.
In 1978, the banking forces I supported determined that we had likely assembled enough senators in the recent election, to pass the Multi-Bank structural changes. But we had to be sure that if we passed the legislation, we could get it signed by the governor. A veto would be fatal. It was possible to get a majority of votes to pass the legislation, but electing enough senators to override a governor's veto might take two or three elections, or forever.
It would be much faster and cheaper, the big boys concluded, to control the governor.
Accordingly, at a very private meeting between a Nebraska congressman named Charles Thone; the state's then-premiere lobbyist, Jim Ryan; Omaha National Bank President and CEO John Woods; Omaha National Vice President Don Adams; and myself, certain agreements were reached. The meeting was held at John Woods' personal residence in Fair Acres, Omaha, in a quiet "servants' quarters" outside the main house. The understanding was clear, that we would work to make Charles Thone governor. And Charles Thone, who said he strongly believed in our Multi-Bank bill, gave his iron-clad pledge that he would sign it, just as soon as we could "put it on my desk."
But the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry, and that is what happened with the new governor, Charles Thone.
Charlie liked being governor. Charlie was cautious. Charlie did not want to do anything that made anybody unhappy. The last thing Charlie needed after being in office for a couple of years, was to have a controversial issue on which he had to play King Solomon, which would make one or another powerful group hate him, no matter what he did.
Multi-Bank was exactly that. The two contending groups of banks financed almost all major political races in Nebraska- on both sides -- for almost a decade. Politicians would pledge their support to either the Independents or to the Big Banks, led by Omaha National (later to merge with First National of Lincoln to become FirsTier), as the first step toward running for public office, particularly for the Legislature.
Some politicians came to believe that they would never really have to cast a vote on the issue, because there would never be enough votes to get the bill passed. Therefore, they could promise to support Multi-Bank, without having to worry about a final vote or signature on the bill. Charles Thone was apparently one of those. As long as the bill never reached his desk, he could promise till the cows came home that he would sign the bill, but he would never be held accountable.
But on a fateful day in 1980, something happened in the Legislature that nobody dreamed possible. It had never happened in the first one hundred years of Nebraska history. There was a tie vote, 24 to 24. Nebraska's unicameral Legislature has 49 Senators, but on this day, Senator Ernie Chambers decided to sit on his hands, rather than vote for what he regarded as one bunch of evil-doers against another. Then, in an act of dubious legality, Lieutenant Governor Roland Luedtke cast the deciding ballot in favor of the Big Banks. Never before had a lieutenant governor voted on anything,,,.