Topeka — Two Republican legislators have been accused of violating campaign finance laws and face possible civil fines, officials said Monday.
State Sen. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, who is running in the GOP primary for secretary of state, sent out campaign fundraising letters, some of which went to lobbyists, during a time when that kind of solicitation is prohibited, Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission executive director Carol Williams said.
And state Rep. Patricia Kilpatrick, R-Overland Park, failed to report $5,000 in contributions and $3,000 in expenditures from her 2004 campaign, Williams said.
"There is no documentation to substantiate any receipt or expenditure," Williams said.
The Ethics Commission will consider the cases Thursday. O'Connor faces a maximum fine of $5,000, while Kilpatrick faces fines of up to $30,000.
O'Connor said her fundraising mailout was an accident and that she plans to agree to the facts as presented by the Ethics Commission investigation. She was fined $3,000 for the same type of offense in 2005.
Kilpatrick could not be reached for comment. A woman at the business number for Kilpatrick printed in the 2006 Legislative Directory said she hadn't worked there in more than a year. Kilpatrick's home phone number in that directory was incorrect.
Kilpatrick is not seeking re-election.
In O'Connor's case, several other politicians have violated the same statute, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, who were fined $1,500 each.
State law bans legislators, statewide officials and candidates for those offices from seeking or accepting donations from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees while the Legislature is in session.
In the violations of O'Connor, Kline and Sebelius, fundraising solicitations were sent to lobbyists by mistake, they said.
O'Connor said the law needs to be changed to allow office seekers to be in compliance if they print a disclaimer on the fundraising letter warning those who shouldn't be contributing to not contribute. She said the list of registered lobbyists is so "fluid" it is difficult to be in compliance with the law.