Topeka State Securities Commissioner Chris Biggs is the target of Republican criticism for a new advertising campaign that warns Kansas consumers about getting bilked by shady investors.
Biggs, a member of Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration, called it a campaign to protect Kansans. Republicans called it a shameless political promotion.
"Our message is simple: 'Don't get scammed,"' Biggs said.
The ads are being aired on radio and television statewide to raise awareness of securities fraud. In the TV commercial, a man agonizes over losing his shirt in an illegal investment scheme.
Biggs then appears on camera, warning, "Call our office and investigate before you invest."
He announced the campaign Wednesday.
"It's blatant campaigning at the expense of the state. We know it. He knows it. There's lots of frauds and scams out there. I'm not certain he didn't just perpetrate one," said State GOP Chairman Tim Shallenburger.
In 2002, Biggs was Geary County prosecutor when he almost defeated Republican Phill Kline in the attorney general's race. After he lost, Sebelius named him securities commissioner.
Republicans say Biggs is trying to raise his name identification. The firm that produced the ads is the same one that worked on his 2002 campaign.
"It's pretty obvious," Shallenburger said. "We all chuckled at it. Here's a guy that's running for something."
The campaign to warn Kansas consumers cost about $400,000 and was paid with fines collected from those violating state securities law. It didn't involve any tax money.
Democrats dismissed the criticism.
"The securities commission ad campaign is designed specifically to protect and inform Kansas investors," said Mike Gaughan, executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party.