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Archive for Monday, February 5, 2001

Graves wants to pay first lady’s way

Governor proposes changing spouse provision in campaign finance law

February 5, 2001

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— Gov. Bill Graves wants a change to the state campaign finance law that would let him use his campaign funds to pay for his wife's travel in certain circumstances.

Currently, when Linda Graves travels on behalf of the state, she is reimbursed by the state. But, if she travels to a partisan event, the expenses are out-of-pocket.

Gov. Bill Graves, center, and Kansas first lady Linda Graves greet
guests at a September reception at U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas
Foley's residence in Tokyo. The governor has proposed amending
Kansas campaign finance law so that he can use campaign funds for
his wife's political trips.

Gov. Bill Graves, center, and Kansas first lady Linda Graves greet guests at a September reception at U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley's residence in Tokyo. The governor has proposed amending Kansas campaign finance law so that he can use campaign funds for his wife's political trips.

Graves would like to be able to pay for his wife's travel to partisan events with his campaign contributions.

Campaign funds can be used only to pay for campaigning and the expenses of holding political office.

Graves says the expense of holding political office should be broadened to include the costs of a spouse appearing on behalf of or with the governor "to promote the governor's legislative or political agenda."

The issue came up last spring when Graves and his wife attended a Republican governor's conference.

The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission told Graves he couldn't use campaign funds to pay for his wife's travel expenses.

Graves' proposed change is being considered by the Senate Elections and Local Government Committee.

Natalie Haag, chief legal counsel to Graves, told the committee that "the Republican governor's events are excellent avenues to coordinate the multistate work of first spouses."

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