Archive for Wednesday, October 11, 2006

KPA attorney disputes Kline claim

October 11, 2006


A news media attorney said Tuesday that Atty. Gen. Phill Kline intentionally violated the state open meetings law and misrepresented his opinion about the matter during an Internet chat with the Lawrence Journal-World.

"My view was, and is, that the serial meetings conducted by the Board of Education members with Mr. Kline were intentional violations of the Open Meetings Act," said Mike Merriam, who represents the Kansas Press Assn. "Mr. Kline has no basis to cite me in support of his actions."

Kline, through a spokeswoman, promptly offered a public apology.

"The attorney general apologizes to Mr. Merriam, if in fact he did misquote him," said Sherriene Jones, a Kline spokeswoman.

The dispute stemmed from an incident last year.

Under the state open meetings law, meetings with a majority of a quorum of a public board must be public. A quorum on the Kansas State Board of Education is six members, and a majority of that is four.

On Feb. 8, 2005, Kline had two private meetings with three board members each. He and members who attended those meetings said Kline discussed school finance litigation and a proposal to put stickers on science books for public schools that say evolution is a theory and not a fact.

But several lawmakers and media groups, including the Journal-World, questioned whether the meetings ran afoul of a 1998 legal opinion from the Attorney General's Office.

That opinion stated it is illegal to have a series of meetings that collectively would total a quorum of board members and where a common topic of discussion occurs.

Kline has said he complied with that portion of the law by not conveying discussion from one meeting to the other. A report by the Shawnee County district attorney's office said neither Kline nor the education board members violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

On Monday, during an Internet chat on, Kline responded to a question about the meetings by saying: "The attorney for the Kansas Press Association stated of these meetings: 'it is remarkable the length the Attorney General will go to comply with the law.' I believe that says it all.'"

On Tuesday, Merriam said he had no recollection of making that statement, and added if he had "then it was either a sarcastic reference to (Kline's) elaborate preparations to avoid the law, or was in connection with some other matter."


oldgoof 11 years, 7 months ago

Kline's chutzpah knows no bounds.
.. This time he was only tripped up because the forum is public. And someone asked the source. .. I am sure he has made the same misrepresentations in other more private campaign venues......because this is the Phill Kline I know.

xenophonschild 11 years, 7 months ago

Sad reality is that most eligible voters west of Emporia will still vote for the crook.

Remember, kiddies: if you want to be successful running for elective office in Kansas, merely say "god" every five words.

prioress 11 years, 7 months ago

Remember, kiddies: if you want to be successful running for elective office in Kansas, merely say "god" every five words.

Which god?

justthefacts 11 years, 7 months ago

For those who like facts (as opposed to getting all your information from your feelings or from agreeing blindly with all those with whom you already agree), you may want to actually read some of the news articles from 2005 (warning; you will find 5-1 ration of before [accusing the school board and Kline of a KOMA violation] to after [when the DA of Shawnee county - no great Kline friend - exonerated all concerned]).

And then after you read the accusations and then what the DA concluded (i.e. the law was NOT violated) you might want to read the two AG opinions (from the Stovall era) that discusse "serial meeting" concepts (something very few people did before rushing to judgment):

Most of the people who were arguing that the principles in these two opinions applied and proved a violation had not even read them (to this day they have not done so). But the assistant attorney general who authored both of the stated they did not apply as the press was applying them in this situation.

But never mind says Merriam. It's not about what the laws actually say. It's all about what he/we want the laws to say. And the public doesn't really want to know the facts. It's easier just to join in the howling. No need to read or find out all the facts. It's fun to join the mob going for blood and guts (as long as it's not their own or of their loved ones).

P.S. Merriam is well paid to say whatever the press wants said. But that doesn't mean he's not credible, right?

If any individual were publicly accused of violating the law, especially after they'd been exonerated by a prosecutor, they'd probably have a libel/slander case available to them. But b/c he's a public official that is disliked by those who are pro-choice (or pro-abortion - pick your poison), General Kline has to re-hash and defend against accusations again and again and again...

Attack someone's position or opinions or actions all you want. But at least try to get the facts (and if it is involved the law) straight!! It's hard enough to know what to do or for whom to vote without having to wade through lies all the time!

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