Archive for Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Internal ethics report an issue in ex-Kansas AG Phill Kline’s case

February 23, 2011


— Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline's supporters accuse the state official pursuing a professional ethics complaint against him of concealing an investigators' report highly favorable to Kline for months, but the official said Wednesday the allegation is "absolutely not true."

Kline has repeatedly cited the May 2008 report in his testimony before a three-member panel of the state Board for Discipline of Attorneys. The panel was in its third day of hearings Wednesday on a complaint alleging that Kline misled other state officials and mishandled patients' medical records in pursuing investigations of abortion clinics when he was attorney general from 2003 to 2007 and Johnson County district attorney from 2007 to 2009.

The report was prepared by two attorneys investigating Kline's conduct for state Disciplinary Administrator Stanton Hazlett's office. It reviewed allegations from attorneys for the abortion clinics and concluded there was no probable cause to believe Kline violated ethics rules. Some of the same allegations appeared in the ethics complaint Hazlett filed against Kline last year.

Kline told The Topeka Capital-Journal in an interview that Hazlett should have disclosed the report to him. Instead, he didn't learn about it until January 2010, when it was provided in thousands of pages of documents to attorneys for a former top deputy who had faced an ethics complaint but received only an informal admonition. The document has been public since.

Thomas Brejcha, president of the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based anti-abortion law firm, who's observing the hearing, suggested Hazlett's office "ignored" the report as part of an apparent "political vendetta."

And Kline said of Hazlett, "He's not applying the rules to himself the way he's applying them to me."

Hazlett said the report was among 30,000 pages of documents provided to several teams of attorneys who've represented Kline, including his present lawyers. He said Kline could have had access to the attorneys who wrote the favorable report, noting Kline likely was aware that they'd be preparing something because they spoke with him.

The disciplinary administrator told The Associated Press that the suggestion his office concealed the report is "ludicrous," adding, "It's absolutely not true."

Kline, an anti-abortion Republican, lost his bid for re-election as attorney general in November 2006. Fellow Republicans then picked him to fill a vacancy in the Johnson County district attorney's office, but he lost the GOP primary to retain the post in August 2008. He is now a visiting assistant professor of law at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell.

Kline filed misdemeanor charges against Dr. George Tiller, of Wichita, in December 2006, accusing the abortion provider of performing illegal late-term abortions and failing to adequately report the details to the state, as required by law. The case was dismissed for jurisdictional reasons, and Kline's successor filed different misdemeanor charges the following year. Tiller was acquitted in 2009, shortly before he was shot and killed.

Kline also filed a criminal case against a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park in 2007, when he was Johnson County district attorney. It's still pending, but the clinic denies Kline's allegations that it performed illegal abortions and falsified records.

Kline told the Topeka Capital-Journal that it would have helped him to have had the May 2008 investigators' report before his primary election that year.

And, he noted, in legal proceedings, "It's common practice to share."

The two attorneys who prepared the report for Hazlett's office are listed as witnesses in Kline's ethics hearing.

Their report dealt with accusations that it was improper for Kline to appear on "The O'Reilly Factor" shortly before the election in November 2006, a show in which host Bill O'Reilly referred to the Wichita abortion provider as "Tiller the Baby Killer." It also dealt with allegations that Kline made misleading statements about his activities.

Kline has vigorously disputed those allegations, and he told The Topeka Capital-Journal the report shows the ethics case against him should never have been pursued. The panel hearing Kline's case will recommend to the state Supreme Court what, if any, sanctions he should face.

But the report doesn't deal with most of the allegations Hazlett's complaint makes about the handling of patient records by Kline and his former staffers.

Nor does the report cover an allegation in Hazlett's complaint that Kline once made a false statement to the disciplinary administrator's office. Kline has said in his testimony that the last allegation is so vague and unclear that he doesn't know how to respond to it.

Hazlett said, "We investigated many, many, many other allegations."


blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

He'll skate his way back to Olde Virginney; with the Governor, Secy. of State and U.S. and State Representatives feeling the same as deKlien about most issues, there is little chance for justice here.

kansanjayhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes Kline has a lot of support from those who believe in the conservative values of family, faith, and the constitution. We do not support killing the unborn and destroying the constitution by claiming it upholds such destruction even when there is no mention of such a thing in the document. It is only the liberal justices who have distorted the true meaning of the words. Yes, we do support Mr. Kline!

GovJunkie 7 years, 2 months ago

Phillll, remember your testimony earlier this week where you said it was OK to be disingenious to other investigators, even superior agencies when you were conducting an investigation? "Ends justify the means" is your motto. I guess you live on a one-way street! Remember? You said, under oath, I believe that it was OK to deceive the Chief Counsel at SRS as to what you and your crummy kronies were up to? Bites, doesn't it? Thanks for coming back to get your ticket punched. Your not missed.


blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

kansan: The word "abortion" does not appear in the Constitution because in the 1700's the term abortion included all early pregnancy terminations, either spontaneous or induced. Therefore, based on your argument any "abortion" as defined at that time would not be protected by the document and therefore would be un-Constitutional. Just think of all of the mothers of miscarried fetuses who are/were really criminals under your strict interpretation.

Under modern definition "abortion" is a poor form of birth control; however the right of a woman to make decisions concerning her well being and her reproductive decisions should be her's alone.

TheStonesSuck 7 years, 2 months ago

wow, a Falwell mention. Boy was that guy a tool! Right now, I'm sure he's railing against jews, gays, and blacks as Hitler and the Devil argue over whose turn it is to kick that flabby douche in the junk.

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