If elected, what would be your top three priorities as Kansas attorney general?
I would focus on restoring professionalism to the attorney general's office after years of turmoil and uncertainty. Key to accomplishing that will be hiring and retaining quality professional staff, giving them direction, and letting them do their jobs without political interference or grandstanding. We would focus on fighting for the needs of public safety and protecting vulnerable Kansans, advocating for a stable legal environment that welcomes jobs investment and economic growth, and standing up for Kansans' liberties such as by challenging the constitutionality of the federal power grab contained in the national health care law.
I have refocused the office on the issues that are important to Kansans: cracking down on sex predators that produce and distribute child pornography, recovering record amounts of restitution for Kansas consumers, and eliminating fraud and waste in state government.
In addition to launching initiatives targeted at online safety, I have investigators in my office that are dedicated to hunting down child pornography. Unlike other victims of crime, victims of child pornography are re-victimized each time their image is distributed and viewed on the internet. Our office is actively engaged in the prosecution of the sexual exploitation of children and we are finding new ways to bring these criminals to justice.
Under my leadership, recoveries for Kansans by the Consumer Protection Division in 2010 are a remarkable 17 times those in 2006. Prior to my arrival, these consumer protection efforts had been almost completely dismantled by political agendas.
To ensure that our state government is operating at peak efficiency, I have aggressively prosecuted fraud and waste in our state system. In three years as Attorney General, my office has recovered $46 million in Medicaid fraud and abuse. These results have been achieved despite a 47% reduction in our office’s taxpayer funded budget.
If elected, what action would your office take to deter Internet crime — from scams of Kansas citizens to breaches in security in financial networks?
As an assistant attorney general, I personally prosecuted numerous Internet scams. It's tough business because the perpetrators often are out of state and far away. Consumer education is critical to help avoid scams in the first place. I also would continue the work of prosecuting online child predators, a project enabled by the Kansas electronic solicitation law that we wrote in 2006 as part of Jessica's Law.
Upon taking office as Attorney General, I recognized that cybercrime was a growing threat to Kansas citizens. In response, I created the website NetsafeKansas.com, which is aimed at increasing education and awareness of internet crime in Kansas. I encourage parents, children and Kansas seniors to visit this website and learn about how to stay safe on the internet.
Protecting children on the internet has been one of my priorities. I recently announced my intention to seek approval from the Legislature to create a Child Predator Unit in the Attorney General’s office next year. This new Unit will build on current activities in the AG’s office such as the Human Trafficking Task Force, Operation Child Shield, Sexually Violent Predator prosecutions, and civil enforcement of child pornography law. The Unit will be a comprehensive approach to sexual exploitation of children, involving the Attorney General’s criminal, civil, and investigative resources.