Archive for Monday, September 25, 2006

Truth in question at latest AG debate

September 25, 2006


— Atty. Gen. Phill Kline and challenger Paul Morrison, Johnson County district attorney, mixed it up Sunday over prison sentencing and hiring practices.

"We can do much better than Phill Kline as attorney general," Morrison, a Democrat, said in summarizing his arguments before several hundred people in Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.

After one of several verbal barrages from Morrison, Kline, a Republican, said, "The falsehoods are stunning."

The two face off in the Nov. 7 general election in one of the most hotly contested statewide races.

The loudest reaction of the debate came when Kline compared Bryan Brown to civil rights leaders. Brown is a former anti-abortion protester with several arrests whom Kline hired in 2003 as director of the consumer affairs division in the attorney general's office.

"He expressed his faith and his opposition to abortion," Kline said, just as Martin Luther King and Rose Parks used civil disobedience to protest laws they opposed.

Morrison supporters groaned and laughed.

For the most part, the debate followed a familiar pattern with Morrison criticizing Kline's investigation of abortion clinics, saying the anti-abortion Kline was pursuing a political agenda instead of devoting resources to law enforcement. Kline has said the subpoena of records from the clinics is necessary to investigate allegations of child rape and illegal late-term abortions.

Kline criticized Morrison for helping sponsor legislation that reduced the post-release supervision of some inmates, saying that the legislation, which Kline opposed while a member of the House, led to more crime.

"It was a poor policy," Kline said.

Morrison has said the measure freed up prison space used to incarcerate more violent felons.

Francie Fitzgerald, a Kline supporter, came from Leavenworth to watch the debate. She said she was impressed with the preparation of both candidates but was sticking with Kline.

"I believe he is a truth-teller. We have a great deal of untruth-telling going on," Fitzgerald said.

But Harry Mullins, a Morrison backer, said the Democrat came off as a credible alternative to Kline because of his work in law enforcement as district attorney in the state's most populous county.

"It's a shame we have questions surrounding the legitimacy of the office," Mullins said of Kline.

Many of Morrison's statements focused on controversy swirling around Kline during his term.

"We should expect better," Morrison said.

But Kline defended his record, saying he has worked with the Legislature to toughen laws on sex crimes - especially those involving children - successfully defended the state death penalty statute before the U.S. Supreme Court and helped win complex water rights litigation.


BDub 11 years, 8 months ago

I'm a registered Republican - voting for Morrison!

Frank Smith 11 years, 8 months ago

In debates, Kline claims to be for "open government." However he deliberately met with the six members of the Board of Education "Born Again" majority in two separate groups on 2/8/05 in a pre-planned illegal effort to skirt the Kansas Open Records Act. The Kansas Press Association considered suing him for his refusal to make records public. What part of "truth" doesn't he understand?

KS 11 years, 8 months ago

What is that supposed to be, a kiss an tell? I will probably still vote for the guy, Kline, that is.

Porter 11 years, 8 months ago

Hey BigDog, Not disputing you, just curious. What makes you think most law enforcement orgs support Kline?

xenophonschild 11 years, 8 months ago

It may be that Kline will soon have other issues to distract him; the IRS is going to investigate his use of non-profit tax exempt churches to further his political ambitions.

Kline's supporters should find some way to defend his defying a Kansas Supreme Court "gag"order in an on-going case before it.

No Savonarola needed in Kansas.

SettingTheRecordStraight 11 years, 8 months ago

Paul Morrison becomes unhinged when speaking in public, embarrassing himself and his campaign, and doing himself far more harm than good.

So when an incumbent like Phill Kline participates in as many debates as he has, you know it's becaus Phill Kline BURIES the guy from the stump. I'm looking forward to more debates.

KS 11 years, 8 months ago

xenophonschild - Good grief! How in the heck do you know that Kline or anyone else is soon to be investigated by the IRS for anything? Where do you guys keep coming up with all of this unsupported crap?

trinity 11 years, 8 months ago

we do not need commandant kline in office again, period. he has forgotten his role and function. morrison will be a top notch AG.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Circumstantial evidence doesn't count for much. Has anyone actually seen a debate? If so, I would like to know how Morrison does.

emtid4u 11 years, 8 months ago

Phil you are a criminal though you can't figure that out. you are a criminal. You need to go back to Law School and do a refresher on constituional law. Then look at the K.S.A.s and have yourself booked. Official Misconduct ring a bell. It will you are misusing your office buy your own reporting. Paul Harvey will read about you in his for the record spot. We will all laugh.

BigDog 11 years, 8 months ago

I guess the Morrison crowd has nothing but the church argument to offer.

Just like almost every other Democrat ...... they can critique others well and name call .... but they have no plan as to how they would do things differently.

If Morrison is this great prosecutor should most law enforcement support him. It sure seems ironic that most law enforcement organizations across the state support Kline.

Re-elect Phill Kline!!

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Thank god they aren't running for the office of AG.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

There is no release of provided for in that law.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago


Bit of a hurry. Stupid job.

There is no release of prisoners provided for in that law.

And Kline is only Reagan-like if you are referring to the post-Alzheimers Reagan.

WilburM 11 years, 8 months ago

Phill can't stand (and is not good at) being on the defensive, where Morrison has placed him time and again, often with questinos about Kline's truthfullness (e.g., Carr brothers accusations on sentencing).

So what does ol' Phill do? He starts slinging accusations about truth himself, with no factual backup. But if he's hurling accusations --against a career prosecutor with an unblemished record -- he doesn't have to answer for his own assorted shortcomings.

"The best defense is a good offense" -- yeah, right.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

"...his support from decent church-going people is illegal."

That isn't the claim that was made, Marion, and you know it. There is nothing wrong for church-going people to support a candidate. However, churches as tax-exempt institutions can not endorse a candidate or campaign on behalf of a candidate. From what is known of the facts at the present time, it does not appear that the churches who went along with Kline's campaign scheme to access their congregations violated federal regulation, but it is a close enough question that it endangers their tax-exempt status. If someone has made a complaint as alleged, then an investigation will almost certainly follow.

As for the rest, Kline's legal misstatements and flirtations with unethical conduct are legion. He deserves to lose this election. I fervently hope that we elect Morrison, a credible AG, this November.

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Sure we do, BigDog. But it gets tiresome to have to go back and resurrect all the previous posts on the topic. I oppose Kline's candidacy for many reasons. In short, Kline does not have the intellectual rigor, the practical experience, or the abiding interest in law that being AG requires. I have met him and asked questions of him in several public forums. Without fail, his answers lacked depth and revealed a lack of understanding of basic jurisprudence. As for specific cases since he has been AG, allow me to briefly touch on the following three:

Kline supported discrimination based on sexual orientation in application of the Romeo and Juliette law as applied in the Limon case. He did so for religious reasons. Such is not a basis for secular law. His staff did not make that argument on appeal; however, Kline's continued support for the law as written is problematic.

Second, Kline would have required that every mandated reporter in the state turn in known incidences of consenting sex between minors because such consensual activity makes both participants sexual abusers and predators. Kline claims he would no prosecute such cases, but that is a red herring. Before his opinion came down, mandated reporters relied up the plain language of the law and an opinion offered by former AG Stephan and were secure in using their education, training, experience, and professional discretion in reporting sex between minors. Kline would take away all such discretion and involve the state whether it be by DA or SRS in every known case of teenage sex. Again, bad law, bad policy. Bad opinion The judiciary agrees and treated this opinion as the ridiculous drivel that it is.

Finally, Kline has conducted a witch hunt in his inquisition of Tillers medical clinic. There was a way that he could have gotten all the records he needed in such a way as to protect the identities of that patients. That way no one would have access to identifiable medical records until after probable cause of a crime had been established. Kline chose to go in a way that the names of patients would be disclosed before particularized suspicion existed. During the litigation of his procedure, he released for public consumption records that had been sealed by the Court. His only justification was that it made him look better in the public eye. The Court noted that his behavior was unethical and it was only through the intervention of former AG Stephan that Kline did not get more than the published criticism of a unanimous Supreme Court. I have cited to the opinion several times, but here it is again:

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 8 months ago

Kline's use of churches as campaign tools should be investigated (the participating churches should be questioned by the IRS).

In California, an episcopal church is being investigated by the IRS because the pastor gave an anti-war speech on the eve of the 2004 election.

Kline is a zealot who is not afraid to cross the boundaries of decency, truth, and the law to get elected and to force his radical right-wing ideologies. Churches should assume responsibility and make sure that they are not becoming tax-exempt political fund-raising bodies for this man, because he does not seem to care about the churches he abuses.

GOPConservative 11 years, 8 months ago

"Oh, one or more of these morons filed an IRS complaint agianst Klein or at least claims to have done so on the basis that his support from decent church-going people is illegal."

All the "decent church-going people" I know support Morrison, not Kline.

Being non-profit is not the same as being organized as tax exempt under 501(c)(3). For example, political action committees are non-profit, but contributions to PACs are not tax-exempt.

Despite your blowing smoke about 501(c)(3), the IRS Website says:

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."

Individual contributors to a church operating as a PAC can be assessed taxes, interest and penalties on the individual's three previous returns (both Federal and State).

The "church," which was operating as a PAC will lose its 501(c)(3) status and will have to start paying local, State and Federal taxes as well as back taxes, interest and penalties.

Sacerdotal 11 years, 8 months ago

"Just like almost every other Democrat ...... they can critique others well and name call .... but they have no plan as to how they would do things differently."

Just like the Republicans. They can sit back and say "what would YOU be doing in my shoes", but they can't seem to offer any explanations for why THEY have failed so miserably. At any rate, it seems that Morrison DOES have a plan, but don't let the facts bog you down.

And I want to clarify once again (it seems like it must be done at least once per thread) that LEFT and DEMOCRAT are not synonymous terms. Maybe to you religious-extremism, paleo-con, bigoted right-wingers, but in the general scheme of thing, Democrats are just a smidge to the left of the Repulicans.

Silly and adolescent. Beware of statements that impose mass values on a group of people based on bias and ignorance. (This applies to both sides; we are all Americans and this is a fierce debate. That does not mean it can leave all common sense and decency behind.

xenophonschild 11 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I filed a formal complaint with the IRS over Kline's illegal political activity in Kansas churches. I encourage others to do likewise:

Marjorie Nagrotsky, Development Director, Americans United for Separation of Church & State (AUSCS) advised me on 20 September that, due to the number of complaints filed with the AUSCS and the IRS over Kline's initiative in Kansas churces, the IRS will examine his conduct.

Porter 11 years, 8 months ago

Are any churches still interested in allowing Phill Kline in? After the memo release, I would think any sensible pastor would refuse to "invite 5 money men" to come here the AG speak.

ethicsfirst 11 years, 8 months ago

I am glad that people are filing these complaints. I just wonder what it is going to take to make Kline stand up and be held accountable for his actions. It seems that so far he has wormed his way out of every situation that has arisen, such as the release of sealed documents mentioned in a previous post.

The_Twelve 11 years, 8 months ago

Forget the church stuff...Let's focus on the attributes of the election year Christian... If he is so clean, why didn't he quickly chastize the right rev Connie Morris for her $300/ night hotel bills and exorbitant taxi fare?

Perhaps there is a Bible verse that states, "Thou, as public servant, shall screw that same public as long as they don't know about it"

Baille 11 years, 8 months ago

Oh please.

Republicans don't want to raise taxes, but that means that finances are tight and programs have to be cut. Of course this program cut the supervised probation period of people who had been released from custody, and funded the building of more prison space. Seems like a typical Republican policy initiative.

Morrison was involved in this legislation to reduce the time that certain convicts spend on supervised probation (not incarceration), but he certainly didn't pass it. That was done by the Republican legislature.

Furthermore, it isn't like these people were actually in prison. They were free to live, work and travel - except that they had to report in every so often. There is no reason to think these convicts would not have broken the law had they been on probation. There would have been nothing to stop them. This is a huge non-issue.

Expect once again, Kline shows how unethical he really. This story is really about Phill Kline's lack of character and integrity, and his reliance on half-truths and lies.

Research on the veracity of

"The Web site also refers to more than 1,500 offenders whose supervision was shortened by the law and who have returned to prison. Corrections officials say two-thirds of them already would have been released from supervision when they committed new crimes, even without the 2000 law."

"The site also mentions Reginald Carr, who is on death row along with his brother, Jonathan, for a December 2000 killing spree in Wichita. After Reginald Carr's release from prison in March 2000, the state ended its supervision of him prematurely, less than two weeks before the first killing.

"Kline has argued it's fair to link Reginald Carr to the 2000 law because the law shaved a year off the time he was under state supervision, setting the end date as June 1, 2001.

"But the state actually ended its supervision six months earlier, on Dec. 1, 2000, something the Department of Corrections attributed to an error by two employees. Had the error not occurred, Reginald Carr would have been under state supervision at the time of the killings."

Kline wouldn't know "fair" or "honest" if they smacked him in the face. The only thing more challenging than the law for Phill is integrity.

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