Topeka — Democratic secretary of state candidate Chris Steineger may have violated Kansas campaign finance laws, it was reported Saturday.
One potential problem is an e-mail that apparently solicited contributions from a registered lobbyist during the legislative session. As a state senator, Steineger is not allowed to seek contributions from several groups, including lobbyists, while the Legislature is convened.
Steineger’s most recent Senate campaign finance report and e-mail communications from his secretary of state campaign were analyzed.
Steineger, who has represented Kansas City, Kan., for 13 years in the Senate, said the donation request sent to the lobbyist — “if it happened” — would have been an honest mistake by a campaign staff member. He said the donor list was to have been scrubbed of registered lobbyists.
“I’ll have to talk to my fundraiser about that,” Steineger said. “He was supposed to very thoroughly purge our fundraising list of any lobbyists. I know he spent hours doing that.”
A copy of the Feb. 24 solicitation e-mail touts Steineger’s bipartisan record, pointing to him as a senator who “rises above the fray and does what he knows is right.” It requests contributions of $25, $50 or $100. The message from Steineger contained a “contribution” link in the e-mail.
Steineger is competing for the Democratic nomination against Chris Biggs, the state’s securities commissioner. Biggs was an unsuccessful candidate for attorney general in 2002. On the GOP side, Kobach and Shawnee County election commissioner Elizabeth Ensley are bidding for the party’s nomination.