Morrison resigns

Kansas Atty. Gen. Paul Morrison is resigning in the wake of a sex scandal, he announced at a press conference this afternoon.

“Many people feel betrayed by my personal actions, and they have every right to feel that way,” he said. He said he had made personal mistakes, but had upheld the law while in office.

“This has been damaging to this office, my staff and the people of this state,” he said.

He took no questions.

Kansas GOP chairman Kris Kobach responded:

“Questions have been raised throughout the Morrison tenure regarding whether he was willing to enforce laws with which he disagreed. In selecting the next Attorney General, I encourage the Governor to be careful to select an a person that will faithfully enforce all laws.”

Morrison’s resignation is effective Jan. 31, 2008. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a fellow Democrat, will appoint his replacement.

The announcement comes a day after Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline – whom Morrison defeated in the 2006 election – was given permission Thursday to hire a special prosecutor. It was widely believed the target of the investigation will be Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison.

The allegations against Morrison included charges that Morrison tried to get information about Kline’s work as Johnson County district attorney.

On Sunday, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Linda Carter, Morrison’s former director of administration when he served as Johnson County district attorney, had accused him of sexual harassment and attorney misconduct. Carter has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the newspaper said.

Carter said she and Morrison had a two-year affair, the paper reported. Both she and Morrison are married.

And, she said, Morrison sought information through her about Kline’s actions in a lawsuit involving Planned Parenthood of Overland Park. She also said Morrison tried unsuccessfully to get her to write letters on behalf of attorneys who sued Kline after he fired them when he became district attorney.

Morrison has admitted to having an affair with Carter, but he has denied allegations of professional misconduct.

After his defeat for reelection to be attorney general in 2006, Kline successfully got Morrison’s old job as Johnson County district attorney in an election of county Republican officials. The GOP got to make the selection for the remainder of Morrison’s term because Morrison was a Republican, who switched to the Democratic Party to face Kline.

Morrison had asked the Kansas Administrator’s Office to investigate whether he violated attorney’s code of ethics.

More information as it develops.