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Opinion

Opinion

Full-time job

Kansans deserve the full attention of their statewide elected officials.

January 6, 2011

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When the voters of Kansas elect a state official, they are hiring that person to do a job. State offices are important jobs that Kansans assume will get the full attention of the people they elect.

Surprisingly, not every elected official in Kansas shares that assumption. Kris Kobach, who will take office next week as Kansas secretary of state, has said he will work at least 40 hours a week in his state job but he also plans to continue doing outside legal work related to immigration law during his “spare time.”

Kobach’s plan has raised concerns among a number of Kansans, including Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, who will push for legislation that reminds state officeholders of the responsibilities of their jobs. The legislation would prohibit not only holders of statewide elective office but also some appointed cabinet secretaries and department heads from pursuing significant outside jobs while they are in office.

Kobach has promised to fight the proposal, saying it is “a brazen attempt to stop me from making the progress and reforms I’ve made in the illegal immigration area.” Perhaps so, but that isn’t the job the voters of Kansas hired Kobach to do. They hired him to be the secretary of state.

Having state officials pursuing second careers while in office raises serious concerns. First, in everything they do, state officials represent the state of Kansas. They don’t punch a time clock after which they can pursue any interest they have regardless of how it might reflect on the state. Even if everyone in Kansas agreed with Kobach’s activities concerning illegal immigration, there certainly is a long list of other jobs or professions that Kansans wouldn’t want their state officials pursuing while in office.

Another key issue is the money. Presumably, Kobach will be paid for the legal services he provides on his second job. Perhaps that money will have no influence on his activities as secretary of state, but allowing state officials to hold significant outside jobs sets a dangerous precedent. Paying a state official to do another job while in office would be a handy way for an outside group or corporation to try to exert influence over state policy. At the very least, that employment would cast doubt on the official’s ethics and raise questions about possible conflicts of interest.

It’s good that Kobach has been forthright about his plans so that the state has an opportunity to establish some parameters for state officeholders that probably should have been set long ago. It is surprising that an elected state official would view his or her job as anything less than a 24-7 commitment to the people of Kansas, but apparently there is a need to clarify that point.

Comments

RDFry 3 years, 3 months ago

(Rep Davis wants to limit Kobach's "outside" work)

Leave My Secretary Alone

J-W says it all when he says “It’s good that Kobach has been forthright about his plans [to continue his work on immigration.]” I agree Kobach was forthright about his plans to carryon his work to stop the massive invasion of illegals into this country. Even if he hadn’t talk about it could anyone say they did not understand that would be the case from all the work he has been doing around the country over the last several years including with all his television appearances? J-W does not consider the fact that some of us voted for Prof. Kobach because of his national efforts which were proof positive that he will do what he says he proposes do in Kansas to solve the illegal alien problem. I can assure you many of us voted for him largely because of his involvement in this issue on a national basis. The Secretary of State is a Constitutional officer in Kansas. I’m not sure how much authority the Legislature has over the office. But, Secretary Kobach was hired (voted in) by the citizens (over whelming I might add), and the Secretary answers to “We the People” not the legislature. I will take it as a personal affront to my sovereign rights as a citizen if some partisan in the legislature tries to interfere with the work of Kobach whom I hired and who is suppose to answer to me, not to Rep. Paul Davis (D) of Lawrence. If Rep. Davis wants a piece of Secretary elect Kobach he is going to have to come through me and I suspect a lot of other patriotic citizens for whom Kobach works. The illegal alien invasion is an issue of national importance and it will not be resolved until the states start working together and supporting each other. It is time the states and “We the People” step up to the duties we have as part of this Grand Republic. The efforts of Kobach promote this occurring. Stay off my Secretary. R. D. Fry

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Timothy Eugene 3 years, 3 months ago

If it was a Democrat, thus liberal, Secretary of State, and he/she was working on behalf of other groups to provide abortion rights legislation, then all the people witch-hunting Mr. Kobach wouldn't say a thing. It's only wrong if you disagree with it. Many people work 2nd jobs, or do work outside of their normal job. Sore losers...

Let's see....what was it BHO said after the 2008 elections? "We won." Now Kris can say the same thing.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 3 months ago

So essentially some of you believe it would be A-OK for us to elect, say, David Koch as Governor and for Mr. Koch to continue his duties with his company while also serving as Governor.

Brilliant.

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ststoff 3 years, 3 months ago

Voter apathy is a huge problem but if a citizen chooses not to excerise there right to vote who is at fault ? I sincerely wish citizens would vote no matter what side of the political fence they are on. Kobach cleary won by a landslide I believe he has a mandate.

Republican candidate Kris Kobach rolled over Democratic incumbent Chris Biggs in the race for secretary of state Tuesday. With 2,829 of 3,315 precincts reporting, Kobach had received 431,825 votes, while Biggs had garnered 276,016.

I won by a landslide, and I clearly made stopping voter fraud my No. 1 issue," Mr. Kobach said. "I feel like I have a mandate, and I hope legislators will also see that." Thank you so much for all of the ways that you helped make our victory Tuesday night possible. We were outspent by more than $90,000 and faced a barrage of misleading negative ads, yet we won by a 59%-37% landslide. That was only possible because of your help. Our ground game neutralized our opponent's attacks and carried us to victory.

It has been widely acknowledged that the Kansans for Kobach campaign mounted the greatest volunteer effort of any campaign in Kansas in 2010. Our volunteers were everywhere, in great numbers. Whether it was in parades, rallies, or the "clean sweep" program of the Kansas Republican Party, our volunteers consistently showed up in large numbers and brought their "A game."

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seriouscat 3 years, 3 months ago

I think Kobach is an unprintable word in the highest order, and has an eminently punch-worthy face. Calling him out loudly and watching him closely are actions which are definitely in order. But drafting legislation specifically to address his creepy, politically motivated obsession is small-minded thinking and will likely end up being counter-productive.

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

Then maybe the meat factories should stop recruiting in Mexico and along the border.

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ksriver2010 3 years, 3 months ago

Actually, I think that the whole point of Kobach is rather pointless. He would have been better able to affect change if he was the Attorney General, where he could actually sue the feds over policy or try to push something to the Supreme Court. Because that is where this will end up. Passing regs or laws which limit services or citizenship to illegals will eventually be a civil rights issue at the Supreme Court level. Or he would do better being full time private attorney in a think tank helping states to draft legislation like Arizona. Overall it is pointless. All of Western Kansas and a large portion of Wichita is up to the eyeballs in illegals that possess laughably inadequate fake documentation that cannot even get them a job at a legit meat packing plant (one of the meat plants in Dodge City invalidates 90% of new applicants per week because their paperwork will not pass even a basic gov't background check).

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone happen to know if ANY of the immigration laws this guy helped write have been found to be constitutional?

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jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how these comments would be going if this was a democrat spending his time on gay rights issues.

On another note, it's interesting how little intrinsic meaning there is now in the terms liberal and conservative, past the superficial laundry list of stances on hot-button issues.

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ksriver2010 3 years, 3 months ago

Until Koback decided to run on a platform of changing the office of the Secretary of State, going after voter fraud and illegals, the Secretary of State didn't really do anything significant. Most of the work is business registration, and certifying elections. The business part can be done automatically for the most part on the Internet. And elections are a seldom occuring event. What the heck did Biggs do in office? Nothing. Seems like a less than 40 hour a week job to me, regardless of who does it.

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LogicMan 3 years, 3 months ago

These are jobs, not slavery. Conflict-of-interest, performance reviews, elections, etc. are already in effect - there is no need to create more red tape or to be jealous of high-performers who don't get much R&R. Just a need for the public and the media to perform their traditional watchdog duties.

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ignati5 3 years, 3 months ago

I wish somebody with expertise in political research or investigative reporting would look into Kobach's claims that he was instrumental in framing Arizona's recent immigration law. To hear him tell it, he was the grey eminence of the movement, but I have yet to find a single reference to any work of his in the many articles I have read on the controversial law, despite their mention of people who did influence it. I have a hunch his claims fall into the same category as Al Gore's invention of the internet or Richard Blumenthal's Viet-Nam service. As he now proposes to inhibit Kansans' voters rights as a supposed expert on voter fraud, we should know the difference between resume padding and real knowledge of a issue before giving him our support. BG

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ststoff 3 years, 3 months ago

The citizens of Kansas voted overwhelmingly for Kobach. I am always amazed how the liberals will always try to change the rules when it suits them. Kansas is a conservative state Kobachs election proves that. Give me 40 hours of Kobach anytime. 40 seconds of liberals is too much for me. Like it or not Kansas is a conservative state, Kobach was voted in by a mandate. Davis has a business outside of the legislature most of these legislators do should he give up his business ?

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notajayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Why wasn't the legislation proposed by Rep. Davis written to cover ALL full-time state employees? If holding outside employment interferes with the amount of time they have available for their state jobs or creates possible conflicts of interest, shouldn't it cover ALL the people we pay to provide services to the state?

As I mentioned in a previous thread, it's interesting that Mr. Davis proposed this legislation covering only state-wide elected officials after all those elected officials happened to be Republicans.

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ksriver2010 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's state the obvious: voters elected Kobach because of his stand and zeal on illegal immigration. Kobach is doing what the majority of his supporters, and most of the people in the state (outside of Lawrence) want him to do. I didn't vote for him. Making legislation to address it may hurt other legislators. The state legislature is a part time job, and the session doesn't go for the whole year. Many state legislators have real jobs or businesses.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 3 months ago

KK wanted to be governor, but knew he couldn't get elected to that post. Now, he's going to moonlight with more unicorn hunts on other states and try to turn a clerk's job into something more. Should be interesting. At least he helps other lawyers in other states as they take him to court and courts find many of his 'solutions' to 'problems' are unconstitutional.

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 3 months ago

This is nothing more than a witch hunt.

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Les Blevins 3 years, 3 months ago

Well I knew if I lived long enough I would someday read a JW Editorial that I completely agreed with. I see that day has finally arrived. Could this be a slip-up somewhere?

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