Archive for Monday, October 30, 2006

Republican PAC spends $1.5 million to support Kline

Sum is a campaign record

October 30, 2006


— A Washington, D.C., corporate-interest political action committee spent a record $1.5 million in nine days to help Republican Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday.

"That's a lot of moolah, and that will buy you many, many ads in some prime spots," said Joe Aistrup, head of the political science department at Kansas State University.

"I can't think of any outside group coming in and spending that amount of money in Kansas," he said.

The spending by the Republican State Leadership Committee financed a wave of negative television, radio and mail ads against Kline's Democratic challenger Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney.

Between July 21 and Oct. 26, Morrison raised twice as much money as Kline in direct contributions to their respective campaign warchests $1.25 million to Kline's $613,776.

But the flood of RSLC dollars on Kline's behalf essentially negated Morrison's dollar advantage.

Corporate interests

Under campaign finance laws, independent organizations such as the RSLC are prohibited from coordinating their efforts with the candidates they are trying to help.

The RSLC ads started earlier this month as Kline fell behind in the polls and launched his own ads blasting Morrison over a 15-year-old unproven allegation of sexual harassment that was dismissed from court.

But while the RSLC ads criticized Morrison as being soft on crime, the group has nothing to do with fighting crime.

The RSLC is backed by a long list of corporate interests, and on its website, describes itself as supporting a "pro-growth agenda, including, reforming the tax code, healthcare and legal systems; promoting a better educational system; and advocating commonsense environmental protection."

The group focuses on races nationally for attorney general and state legislatures. It is aligned with the Republican Attorneys General Assn., a group for which Kline served as chairman in 2004.

A spokeswoman for the RSLC declined to answer specific questions about the group and its Kansas efforts.

Kline spokeswoman Sherriene Jones said the Kline campaign appreciated the RSLC effort.

"The ad that was run by the RSLC was a true and correct ad," Jones said.

Ads called deceptive

Morrison's campaign spokesman Mark Simpson disagreed.

"Unfortunately their ads were deceptive and false," Simpson said." We think the election will be decided by Kansans and not influenced by deceptive out-of-state ads," Simpson said.

Both Morrison and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius asked television stations to pull the ads because they said they were inaccurate.

The RSLC spent $1,556,290 from Oct. 11 to Oct. 20, according to the campaign finance report. That money was spent on television and radio ads, mailers, and polling.

Aistrup said it would be interesting to see if the ads were successful.

Kansans should ask themselves why an out-of-state group would try to sway an election, he said.

"Let the buyer beware," he said.

He said the RSLC's efforts in Kansas "has everything to do with ideology. What they are in the business of doing is electing conservatives everywhere, and right now there is a strong coalition between businesses wanting to cut taxes and cultural conservatives," he said.

Kline appeals to both those groups, he said.

Some expenses unknown

Carol Williams, executive director of the Kansas Government Ethics Commission, said the RSLC's expenditures were the most for an out-of-state PAC spending in Kansas.

She said typically the top 25 PAC's may spend at most $150,000 each in Kansas, and that is spread among numerous political candidates.

But, she said, some special interest groups' expenditures will never be known.

Issue advocacy organizations, which promote certain candidates, but don't specifically ask voters to vote one way or another, don't have to reveal their expenditures and contributions.

Jones, the spokeswoman for Kline, noted that mailouts by Kansans for Consumer Privacy Protection were actually linked to a political action committee run by George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who specializes in late-term abortions.

"They are pretending to be a consumer group," Jones said. According to Monday's campaign finance filings, the group received $68,000 from Tiller's ProKanDo PAC.


Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

This huge sum of money speaks big time to the poor performance of Kline. Kansans do not want Kline.

The two endorsements for Morrison focused largely on the actions of Kline, with both newspapers criticizing him for negative campaigning and using the attorney general's office to push a conservative political agenda.

"Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is desperate to get re-elected," The Hays Daily News wrote. "You can tell by his actions and words throughout the campaign."

Hays chastised Kline for campaign ads that focus on allegations of sexual harassment in two dismissed lawsuits against Morrison. The woman who filed the claims found no witnesses to corroborate her story and didn't receive any damages.

"We're hearing a lot from Phill Kline these days -- and very little of it testifies to his ability to serve Kansans effectively," the Hays paper wrote.

Hays praised Morrison for his 26 years in law enforcement, putting serial killers behind bars and helping to write the state's death penalty statute.

The Hutchinson News criticized both Kline and Morrison for the negative tone of the campaign, but says Kline "has detoured the attorney general's office from being strictly the state's top law enforcement agency to an office that pursues Kline's own conservative social agenda." It says Morrison "would cleanse the attorney general's office of personal agendas."

It said Morrison is more qualified to be attorney general because he is a successful prosecutor "in contrast to Kline, who had no experience in the field and even allowed his law license to lapse."

willie_wildcat 11 years, 1 month ago

Wow desparate times call for desperate measures. This is really sad...I am hoping and praying really hard that Kansas kicks Kline out next Tuesday. This guy uses his position to further the wants of the nut jobs.

kugrad 11 years, 1 month ago

So when the people of Kansas speak with their campaign contributions, we are shouted down by deep pockets from out of state. Obviously the campaigns are coordinated, but this kind of thing can never be proven. Bottom feeder support for a bottom feeder candidate. What a complete loser.

SettingTheRecordStraight 11 years, 1 month ago

Watch Tiller the Killer go berserk now and dump hundred$ of thousand$ more of his million$ into this race.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

WE know where Tiller money is coming from however it is still special interest money.

Kansas Club for Growth is based in D.C. with Club for Growth as its' parent initiated by a former Brownback chief of staff. Transparency is virtually nowhere. Campaign donations should be recorded daily and open to the public.

This big time oustside interest money is a prime example of why no more special interest funding of elections should be on the 2008 ballot.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 1 month ago

As a REpublican, I think that the $1.5 mil could be spent better than on this looser of a Phil!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 11 years, 1 month ago

De Kline Kansas.........De Kline Kansas..........De Kline Kansas......................Do You People Get The MESSAGE.............................!!!!!

oldgoof 11 years, 1 month ago

I guess dozing the consumer protection division into nothing actually paid off for Kline.

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