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Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Morrison asks judicial agency to investigate allegations

December 12, 2007

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— Hoping to keep his job, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison said Tuesday he wants an independent investigation into allegations made against him by a former subordinate with whom he had an extramarital affair.

"It is essential that the people of Kansas have confidence in the office of attorney general," Morrison said in a prepared statement.

Morrison said he will ask Stanton Hazlett, who is Kansas Disciplinary Administrator, to investigate the allegations made by Linda Carter of sexual harassment and attorney misconduct. The disciplinary administrator is an agency under the Kansas Supreme Court that reviews complaints of misconduct against lawyers.

But Morrison's move didn't impress Kansas Republican Party Chairman Kris Kobach.

"It's as if someone who has been accused in a killing in a hit and run, and they say, I agree to pay a speeding ticket," Kobach said.

Morrison described the allegations against him as "professional and legal misconduct." But Kobach said: "It appears that Morrison is just trying to make this whole scandal a question of attorney ethics. It is much bigger than that. It is about sexual harassment, violations of the law and a huge abuse of power."

Sexual harassment

Carter, who was the director of administration for the Johnson County district attorney's office when Morrison was the district attorney, reportedly said Morrison sexually harassed her. Further, Morrison asked Carter to provide information about his political rival, Phill Kline, and litigation Kline was working on when he became Johnson County district attorney, according to a report by the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Carter has filed a complaint against Morrison with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the paper reported. Attempts to contact Carter have been unsuccessful.

Morrison has admitted to having a two-year affair with Carter, but he has denied any professional or legal misconduct.

"The allegations that I attempted to influence ongoing cases or improperly gain information are absolutely false," Morrison said. "I will cooperate completely and openly with the disciplinary administrator to resolve this matter once and for all."

Group wants Morrison out

Meanwhile, calls for Morrison to step down came from the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, which urged supporters to send e-mails to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator's office.

"His abuse of power, his lack of self-control, and his willful disregard for the dignity of his office makes him unfit to be the chief law enforcement official of Kansas," the e-mail said.

Republican and Democratic leaders - including Sebelius - have said if Carter's allegations of attorney misconduct and sexual harassment are true, then Morrison should resign.

But they have also said Morrison deserves his day in court to answer the charges made in the EEOC complaint.

"If the legal complaint is in fact true, and there was some tie to the relationship in pending litigation, then I think that's a very serious issue," said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, of Topeka. "And, I would hope that before the Legislature gets involved in any sort of impeachment that the attorney general would consider resigning from office."

But Hensley cautioned that he was calling for that only if the allegations were true.

Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, agreed, but added that regardless of the outcome of the EEOC complaint, the admission by Morrison of having an extramarital affair hurts Morrison's credibility. Both Morrison and Carter are married.

"He is damaged goods, and it will take an awful lot to rehabilitate him," Journey said.

Abortion battle

Morrison was district attorney in Johnson County for 18 years before switching to the Democratic Party to successfully challenge Kline for the attorney general's job. It was a bitter election in which Morrison blasted Kline's investigation into abortion clinics.

After his defeat, however, Kline mustered the support of Johnson County precinct leaders, who selected him to serve the remainder of Morrison's term as district attorney. Carter stayed on in the district attorney's office until the end of November.

Morrison and Carter started their relationship in September 2005 and ended it last summer, according to the Capital-Journal, which said it received a statement from Carter.

When confronted with the allegation, Morrison said in a statement: "Unfortunately, it is true, however, that I once had a consensual relationship with Mrs. Carter. And I profoundly regret that I did."

In that newspaper report, Carter said they had sexual encounters in the Johnson County Courthouse and hotels in several Kansas cities and several states.

Carter says Morrison tried to pressure her to write letters for former district attorney's office employees who were dismissed by Kline. She also said Morrison sought information about Kline's investigation into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park.

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

Kobach is a fool. Morrison deserves his day in court. So far as the affair is concerned it appears as though they both wanted to do it.

Politicians seldom admit guilt. Our local politicians did not on the open meetings act violation. The again no substantial record of any meetings are available./

There are still large questions looming on the conflicts of interest yet we notice denial is still the name of the game. Politicians seem to think taking matters down a long and winding road some how indicates they are not guilty.

Morrison admits to the affair which are not against the law. Kobach has no idea what transpired on the professional level. At least Morrison has requested an investigation which is more than we can say about our local polticians.

dozer 7 years ago

I guess all you need is to make an allegation against someone and that person is guilty of everything you allege? That is Kobach's logic as well as many of the rest of you. I don't condone Morrison's affair, but I'll wait to see what the investigation reveals before taking it a step further.

By the way, aren't EEOC complaints supposed to be sealed? How did the paper get ahold of the complaint? Carter's attorney said in the paper yesterday it was a sealed complaint, sure doesn't look sealed to me. Is anyone asking that question?

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

This is a good move on Morrison's part. Kobach, his GOP looneys and Operation Rescue will, of course turn this into an abortion issue. It is not. I doubt Carter's EEOC complaint will hold water, and if it does not, he is innocent. The affair is a private matter and should remain so. I think Carter is in Kline's camp, and maybe has been all along.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

spywell wrote "Law enforcement should be free of political one sidedness."

True enough. Last I checked, though, we get law enforcement representatives from the human race. They have the same weakness, frailties, strengths, and gifts the rest of us have. Which means sometimes things like this will happen. When they do, we address them. Just like with other members of society.

Incidentally, they have the same rights to due process and presumption of innocence as the rest of us.

Godot 7 years ago

Must be nice to be able to appoint ones own investigator. Seems to me it should be either the governor or the legislature who decides how this should be handled and who should do the investigation, not Morrison.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

Godot, Stan Hazlett is the disciplinary administrator for all attorneys in Kansas. I can't think of an attorney who would welcome an investigation by the Supreme Court appointed committee for attorney dicsipline if they were guilty of anything. Too bad more people in this country aren't governed by the strict model rules attorneys are.

KS 7 years ago

Getting "nasty" is an understatement. Regardless, Morrison is in trouble. Even "if", he should survie this term in office, he is a gonner! If I were him, I would start to polish up my resume. Well, maybe that is going a little too far. His career is ruined, regardless. That's just the way it is.

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

Godot, Morrison isn't appointing his own investigator. He is an elected official in the executive branch. The investigator will come from the judicial branch, under the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. It's a pretty good check and balance on this one.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

No, HE doesn't, SHE does, and whomever she is in bed with now. Get a grip, she a Kline croney. If she would screw one woman's husband, what makes you think she wouldn't screw the next guy in charge? Hmmmm?

Bobo Fleming 7 years ago

Here is a problem. Hazletts office operates under strict rules which make the initial investigation private. All parties including the complaining party are forbidden from discussing the matter publicaly. This works fine when it is a attorney-bar matter wherein some nut wants to ruin an attorney's reputation by making a crazy charge. It doesnt work so well when it involves a public offical with allegations that misconduct occured in his official capicity. So the first thing Hazlett has to do is tell everybody to shut up. Not so good in this case because everyone has in interest in the outcome,not just the complainent or the bar.

Joe Hyde 7 years ago

Mr. Morrison and Ms. Carter have both publicly admitted to having a 2-year extramarital affair prior to Mr. Morrison becoming the Kansas Attorney General. Unless the definition of "love affair" has been changed recently, don't these twin admissions mean that they entered into their affair willingly, with no coercion applied by either to force the other's participation?

Ms. Carter is not accusing Mr. Morrison of sexually harrassing her into having had the affair in the first place. And she is not accusing him of sexually harrassing her after he left the Johnson County office and took the position of Attorney General.

So...where is the sexual harrassment here?

Wilbur_Nether 7 years ago

Reality_Check wrote "GUILTY until proven innocent for this guy. Not sure why, but that's what everyone here seems to think."

Not really, Reality_Check. Look at my 8:09 a.m. post.

toefungus 7 years ago

Yahoo to Toefungus. I thought a stinky toe was bad, but have learned after reading about AG's and Commissioners that toefungus is a preferable condition.

shockchalk 7 years ago

Spywell, Whether Carter is the Director of Administration has no influence on her charges holding water.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

senegal:

Morrison is THE attorney for the state. The disciplinary admin. is the best to investigate. In your mind - just who does supervise the AG?

BTW - the Bar has nothing to do with attorney discipline in Kansas.

dirkleisure 7 years ago

senegal66025 says: It doesnt work so well when it involves a public offical with allegations that misconduct occured in his official capicity.

The allegations occurred in his official capacity? Or "occured in his offical capicity"? Either one? You really think what was going on between these two involved his "offical capicity"?

Who knew?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

While we've all had our fun the last few days, on both sides of this issue, let's follow Mike Hendricks' lead in his Star editorial.

Morrison is gone. He is a dead man walking. You can complain about whether this meets your test of sexual harassment and how unfair it is to hang some one on charges that can't be definitively proved, but the reality is that Paul Morrison, Republicrat Paul Morrison, is dragging the Democratic party down with every day he spends in office. Hensley knows that, Sebelius knows that and so do the other leaders of the Democratic Party.

This whole farce of letting Republicans like Morrison and Parkinson run as Democrats was built on the notion of picking up enough votes from "moderate" Republicans to win the elections and ultimately convert them to being Democrats. Hasn't worked. All that's happened is that the Democratic Party is finding out why the Republicans wanted to get rid of these jerks.

Now is the time to get rid of Morrison and have Kathleen appoint Chris Biggs as AG. He's as solid as the come and he could show what a real Democrat can do in that office.

Then Democrats need to make clear that if Republicans want to come over and support real Democratic candidates they're welcome to do so, but that they're not going to run our party - and that goes for Parkinson as well.

In the meantime, this Carter woman is not the tubby intern. She's po'd and hell hath no fury like a woman, or in this case, women, scorned. There will be no cutesy commercials of Joyce sitting on the couch talking about what a big lug her husband is and how boys will be boys. Morrison needs to go, and go fast.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

Until Carter receives a Right to Sue letter from the EEOC, none of this matters. I might agree that Morrison has screwed himself on this one, but it shouldn't be because of an affair with a psycho.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years ago

Does irony really escape all typical right-wingers? They all prefer to dismiss their own deceit by pointing fingers and self-proclaiming no flaws. The problem is that there is a major difference in purposeful, malicious lies and human mistakes; you are comparing apples to oranges. The only way to align the two is through admission and humility. How often does a right-wing politician admit mistakes? Do they really believe that makes one flawless? Can you see how flawed this thinking is?
I do not envy them. This perceived perfection impairs empathy and, ultimately, their humanity. It makes one, in my mind, a much more dangerous and morally disrupted individual.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years ago

p.s. Dollypawpaw (Anonymous) says:

Right Val. Mo was just minding his own business, rock hard, when the conspiracy theory took hold.

In fact I bet he wasn't even looking when the conspiracy theory snuck up behind him and grabbed hold.

article reads: "Carter says Morrison tried to pressure her to write letters for former district attorney's office employees who were dismissed by Kline. She also said Morrison sought information about Kline's investigation into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park."

--key phrases "carter says", "she also said", etc. Count the number of times Carter is quoted.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years ago

I hope it is understood that I am not a conspiracy theorist, per se (however, it merely means two or more working together. Collusion is much more devious and harder to prove but I digress). My point was only that it was not "Mo" making various statements but Ms Carter.

Godot 7 years ago

I hope the investigator asks Morrison the question, "How were you able to purchase a ring for $15,000 without your wife knowing about it? Where did you get the cash?"

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

You are right clogged - collusion is much more devious. I am not a conspiracy theorist either, however, it seems rather odd as you point out, that Carter is the only one with any "evidence" in the matter.

If stating that Carter is a Kline crony is a conspiracy theory, so be it. All of the evidence points that way unless the more "enlightened" here can prove otherwise. None of this is laughable IMHO.

Bobo Fleming 7 years ago

What I was trying to say is that if the investigation is through Hazlett all information will be shut off until its determined if the matter needs to go to the bar committee. The committee recomends discipline to the Supreme Court. the allegations that Morrison attempted to tamper with an ongoing case in Johnson County is in action involviing "official capacity." that is the charge that will bring Morrison down if proven. The irony is that as Ag Morrison is the chief law enforcment officer of Kansas and I think would have the right to inquire about cases Klein is working on. So I dont know why he had to engage in this is "pillow talk " with Carter unless he intended to leak the information and didnt want a trail leading back to him.

allateup 7 years ago

Godot.....we think a like..that was my question. I sure the heck would know if my husband spent that much money and I didn't know where it went to!

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

spywell, that is not correct. Kline has no jurisdiction in an EEOC complaint. He couldn't litigate his way out of a paper bag anyway.

senegal: I don't think you understand how the Disciplinary Adminstrator works. Don't have time right now, but will get some information that will make it clearer.

Bobo Fleming 7 years ago

Who does the KBI report to? If you say Morrison you win the cupie doll. In a former life I was a prosecuting attorney in Western Kansas for a number of years. You would have to be there to appeciate the dilema that Morrison has created. The AG is the chief law enforement officer of the State of Kansas. Prosecutors all over the state look to his office for advice and assistance. He has made the AG's office a laughing stock. One of his duties, among many, is to investigate and prosecute offical misconduct. KBI investigators report to him on these investigations. they have a working relationship with him that would requre them to recuse themselves from any investigation involving him. The Hazlett deal is a dodge. Do you know who investigates disputed matters in Hazletts office? If I say the KBI would you be surprised? So get off the Dem or Rep thing, or the abortion or anti abortion thing. this guy is dirty and he needs to go now.

ilikestuff 7 years ago

They were/are both married, were both having an affair which both have admitted to. Seems to me they were both quite willing to screw somebody they shouldn't have been screwing. They both were quite willing liars to their spouses, families and employees/peers for two years.

Carter sounds like an idiot and but Morrison will be the biggest loser in this deal. People had looked up to him. Now, he's admitted he is capable of cheating on his wife and lying to her as well as his family. If he was willing to lie and tear apart the people closest to him what of the rest of us? People will likely be much less willing to follow him now. If people won't follow it's hard to lead.

I don't think his career is ruined but it took a big hit for this. I wonder if it was worth it... for either one of them.

I'm pretty sick of the lack of integrity in the leadership of this country regardless of party affiliation. I guess we're the ones who keep electing these fools so the bad is on us.

Wendy magillicutty 7 years ago

spywell: just as I suspected, you missed the major point. "Kline and his wife Deborah both changed their voter registration to Johnson County just before Kline ran for district attorney, and both of their cars are registered to a Johnson County address in Stilwell, Kan. a storage facility south of Overland Park, Kan.

The law requires this to be Kline's "residence," and if it's not, he must "resign" or be subject to "removal from office." -KCTV5 investigations

not everybody missed it: http://www.kctv5.com/index.html

Should a county district attorney be required to live in the county he or she represents? Choice Votes Percentage of 4528 Votes
Yes 4093 90% No 435 10%

justthefacts 7 years ago

Just to clarify some misinformation/facts from prior posts:

The KBI has nothing to do with the disciplinary office or its investigations. If Stan H. (the head of that agency) asked the Supreme Court justices to ask the AG to ask the KBI for help, the KBI would probably help out. However, the KBI investigates criminal conduct. The disciplinarian's authority does not extend to enforcement of criminal laws; he just looks into whether an attorney has violated the ethical rules that apply to lawyers and judges. Allegations of sexual harrassment involving a client might fall under the scope of that office's authority. But the EEOC, the KHRC (Kansas Human Rights Commission) and the courts (state and federal) are the entities that can enforce sexual harrasment laws with regard to employee employer situations (note; they are civil laws, not criminal ones).

The disciplnarian's office can do things like administer polygraph tests, but it is rare and hasn't happened in decades. And they might get permission to use KBI staff to something like look at a hard drive. But the KBI is not the investigators for the Diciplinary officer. They have their own in house investigators; however, the last 5 in-house investigators at the DAO have all been retired KBI agents. Most cases are still investigated by volunteer attorneys, not the in-house investigators & certainly not the KBI.

As a side note, if the attorney/judicial ethics division of the Supreme court is going to start investigating every case of attorney & judicial adultery, it is going to need a MUCH bigger office & budget!

Wendy magillicutty 7 years ago

justthefacts, thanks! see dolly-it is all in the details, not stereotypes and accusations. look closely and ask again: Who first brought the sex talk into the media??

justthefacts 7 years ago

FYI - for information about the Kansas Supreme Court's Disciplinary Administrator's Office (and how to complain about the conduct of licensed attorneys) see http://www.kscourts.org/rules-procedures-forms/attorney-discipline/
and http://www.kscourts.org/rules-procedures-forms/attorney-discipline/FAQ.asp or contact Administrator 701 SW Jackson Street, 1st Floor Topeka Kansas 66603-3729 Telephone: 785.296.2486 Fax: 785.296.6049 Email: attydisc@kscourts.org

justthefacts 7 years ago

Outline of what entities have authority to do what in this type of situation:

  1. Sexual harrassment complaint by former employee against former employer;

KHRC and/or EEOC investigates. They can take action to penalize, if they believe it happened (after investigation) or they can issue a "right to sue" letter to the complainant - with or without deciding if there is "probable cause" to believe there was harrassment.

A court can take up a case (almost always AFTER the administrative office of the EEOC or KHRC has issued a right to sue letter - meaning "we are done with it.").

The potential damages are almost always civil in nature - i.e. money. No one goes to jail for sexually harassming someone else. In rare instances, the US Attorney General has brought civil right violation cases, but that is reserved for really wide-spread cases (often racially motivated ones) and not for one case of sexual harrasment.

  1. Violation of Attorney code/ethic rules.

Kansas's Supreme Court has set up the Disciplinary Administrator's Office. This office has the authority to determine if a licensed attorney has violated the rules governing the conduct of attorneys. A copy of those rules may be viewed at http://www.kscourts.org/rules/Rule-List.asp?r1=Rules+Relating+to+Discipline+of+Attorneys

If the Discplinary Administrator believes (after investigation) that these rules have been violated, he can ask the Kansas Surpreme Court to impose sanctions. The Court has the authority to do a lot of things to an attorney, from nothing to taking away a law license forever (disbarment) but all are aimed at his or her license. Not at their freedom etc.

  1. Violation of Criminal laws.

Violation of a criminal law can result in a felony or misdomeanor conviction and usually carry with it some potential for jail time. Whether a crime has occured can be investigated by Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) which can include the local police, a county sheriff, the KBI and/or the FBI. Who is the proper investigator depends upon the facts and consquential jurisidiction. enforced by public prosecutors - city prosecutor, county/district attorney, AG and/or US Attorneys Office. Again, who has jurisidiction depends upon the laws allegedly broken and the location where those laws were violated. Each of these prosecuting officers can, in the right circumstances, hire outside counsel to decide whether to go forward with criminal charges (or not).

tell_it_like_it_is 7 years ago

Bet ya 10 bucks Miss Carter is in bed with Phil Kline on this thing and has been for a good long time... Kansas...It just keeps getting weirder and weirder...

Redneckgal 7 years ago

Something is rotten in Kansas and it smells like Kline. We received a prerecorded phone call at my house over Thanksgiving week-end. My son answered and said it went something like Paul Morrison just got stung by a bumble bee. Something along those lines. I thought it was odd at the time since the election is long over-but now I think I know what is was about. Did anyone else get a phone call like this? I didn't give it much thought at the time. I'm not trying to say that Morrison wasn't wrong in the affair because he was...but I bet there is a lot more to this story then a woman scorned! And I bet Phil is right smack in the middle of it.

Godot 7 years ago

There was some person who called himself Bumble Bee who made calls against Morrison during the campaign, it had something to do with a case against the BumbleBee character that Morrison had prosecuted.

I got that recording, this weekend, too, and wondered what was up.

Godot 7 years ago

redneckgal, I cannot believe you connected the two. A google search of "paul morrison" + "bumble bee" yields this:

http://www.fairtrialsinamerica.org/

And now things get even crazier. OMG

Godot 7 years ago

Now I really do want the movie rights.

Godot 7 years ago

Add Jack Nicholson to the cast as the crazy guy.

Bobo Fleming 7 years ago

You all miss the point of the Hazlett ploy. Hazlett's investigation is private with all parties admonished from talking until the matter is referred to the bar committee, if it is. So it drys up all the information. Morrision can say 'Supreme Court rules say I cant discuss this." The same with Carter, she cant talk either. So win win for Morrison, the matter goes out of the public eye.

Godot 7 years ago

Brilliant, senegal66025. As I said this morning, why should Morrison get to decide who investigates and when? He should be out of the loop on this; it is up to the Governor and/or the Legislature.

Godot 7 years ago

LOL, spywell, you need to flesh that one out and sell it.

Godot 7 years ago

Okay, lets have some fun and start casting. Me, first.

Bail bondsman: Steve Buscemi.

Godot 7 years ago

Then cast Bruce willis as the detective.

Godot 7 years ago

Nah, strike that, Willis is too expensive. hmmmm.

Godot 7 years ago

spywell, you have something to pitch to Hollywood. Funny!

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