Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Statehouse Live: Kobach campaign given maximum fine of $5,000 for mistakes in reporting campaign funds

October 26, 2011, 3:41 p.m. Updated October 26, 2011, 8:27 p.m.


— The campaign of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Wednesday was hit with the maximum fine of $5,000 for errors in reporting nearly $80,000 in campaign funds during his successful election bid last year.

Kobach said the fine levied by the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, showed a bias against conservative Republicans, such as himself, and ignored the recommended $750 fine from the “nonpolitical commission staff.”

The ethics complaint was filed against Kobach’s campaign treasurer, Tom Arpke, a Republican state House member from Salina.

Several Ethics Commission members said they were disappointed over statements by Kobach that the campaign self-reported the finance errors to officials.

The commissioners said it was the commission staff that brought the problems to light.

“The commission does not condone a lack of candor. This is in no way, shape or form self-reporting,” said Ethics Commission Chairwoman Sabrina Standifer.

But Kobach, who didn’t attend the hearing, disagreed, saying that although the commission staff initially looked into the finances, it was the campaign’s internal review that found more problems and finally resolved the reports. “We decided to come forward and self-report those errors,” he said.

The complaint alleged that the campaign made mistakes in reporting contributions totaling $35,011.52 and expenditures of $42,947.73.

“It’s clear the commission initiated this, and to not admit this is an aggravating factor,” in setting the fine, said Commissioner Glenn Kerbs.

Commissioner Mark Simpson, an assistant district attorney in Douglas County, said that the errors were a serious violation and that such failures undermine the integrity of elections. And, he said, that the campaign had shown “a complete lack of responsibility.”

Kobach defeated incumbent Chris Biggs, a Democrat, in the November election.

Arpke said the initial failure to keep accurate records was the result of a chaotic campaign that relied on volunteers.

He even noted that one event ended with a bomb threat with people trying to leave quickly while also writing contribution checks.

“We worked very hard on getting this corrected to the penny. It was a grueling process,” he said.

Despite the criticism from the commission, Arpke said he thought he was honest with the commissioners.

The commission voted 7-2 for the fine. An earlier motion by Commissioner John Solbach for a $4,500 fine failed. Solbach said that he understood the commission’s frustration with the Kobach campaign, but that he was willing to go below the maximum fine because Arpke had helped in tracking down receipts. But his motion failed 4-5.

Earlier, Arpke and the commission’s general counsel Camille Nohe had worked out an agreement for a $750 fine. But under questioning from the commissioners, Arpke refused to concede during the hearing that it was the commission staff that uncovered the discrepancies in the campaign reports.

At one point, he said he didn’t remember how the errors first surfaced. “It has been a long time ago,” he said.

Kobach noted a similar complaint in 1999 against the campaign of Bill Graves, a Republican who was elected governor, resulted in a $1,000 fine and involved an even larger amount of discrepancies.


Zazzman 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, that's one crooked accountant who sucks at his falsifying information!


Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 5 months ago

I love it! The bag of s--- calling the kettle black!


ShePrecedes 2 years, 5 months ago

Kobach, Kansas SoS, lied to our city commission long ago about the Patriot Act not being misused, when instance after instance, it was proved in courty that it was indeed being misuse to the extreme. If he is able to make a bald faced lie in person to people who man our local government, he is most certainly going to lie about other things.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Kobach would break the law. I am positive that he would.

Maybe, just maybe, there is no real bias against the GOP on this issue, but maybe, just maybe, a profound bias against Kobach himself. Is isn't as tho he is really the face of the Kansas GOP. But he is the man who participated in driving the GOP into the financial red zone.

I would like to know just where that crime manifested in his campaign, who or what company wrote the check that messed up the accounting.


blindrabbit 2 years, 5 months ago

This, and a law professor on top of it!


Paul R Getto 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't pick on O'Reilley. They are all entertainers, regardless of political bent. Want news, listen to BBC. Until American news agencies quit selling ads for their shows, the circus will continue. Listen to all the voices, then make up your own mind.


BigAl 2 years, 5 months ago

Kobach was on O'Reilly last night. Now, O'Reilly has had both Kobach and Phil Kline on his tv show and that "hard hitting" commentator gave both of these Republicans a free pass. No mention ever of Kline being soundly defeated in his re-election campaign and no mention of Kobach's undocumented voter fraud or his campaign finance scandals.
Fair and balanced? Hardly.


woodscolt 2 years, 5 months ago

This isn't kobachs first conflict involving political finances. The Federal Election Commission found the Kansas Republican Party committed multiple federal campaign finance violations while Kobach was chairman in 2007 and 2008. The FCC determined the GOP organization incorrectly documented expenditures and receipts.,

Ah, they were just simple mistakes and just oversights, and oversights, and oversights, and oversights, and..............


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

I too am not surprised. The voters of Kansas elected Gov holier than thou and Kold-back who was on his vendeta to shoot the illegal immigrants on sight. We are the ultimate ;prototype for all the TV hick-town programming, we are the laughingstock of the nation and soild verification that Kansas is a great route for I-70 to take, but not be exited from.


Richard Payton 2 years, 5 months ago

Barney Frank and Kris Kobach both would do the United States a favor if they quit their political career's and just got a room. That room I envision is a jail cell but it's still morning and I'm dreaming.


grimpeur 2 years, 5 months ago

"Mistakes." Heh.

Kobach: We have found the voter fraud, and it is us.


woodscolt 2 years, 5 months ago

"really? Is this the level that discourse has gotten to?", says kj....

KKK has established the level of discourse by being ethically challenged to put it kindly for you. He has manufactured voter fraud, never been able to back it up and in so doing will disenfranchise many americans right to vote. He has also dramatically over blown immigration and scored a personal fortune at the expense of the taxpayer in so doing, in itself , unethical. This is at least the third admonishment he has received from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. It is pure naivety on your part to try to pull of this as "neferious" motives. The guy is unethical and I am not going to put blinders on and pretend otherwise. He clearly sees himself, as most right wing extremist do, as above the law.


Paul R Getto 2 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps the unicorns are getting their revenge afterall?


saraj 2 years, 5 months ago

There was never any doubt about Kobach's ethics. Unfortunately, voters in KS seem uninterested in ethics or intelligence. Just hit that hot button 'abortion issue' and you are elected.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Just a bit more of the narcissism that dominates the Republican credo.


KU_cynic 2 years, 5 months ago

It's Kris Kobach versus Phill Kline in the race to the bottom of borderline slimy and disreputable self-serving decisions in pursuit of personal agendas via public office....

Currently, it's Phill Kline by a neck, but Kobach is coming on strong . . .


Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 5 months ago

Holy cow. Kris Kobach was correct... there is election fraud.

It's being committed by Kris Kobach.


Mike Ford 2 years, 5 months ago

somewhere Mr. Kobach is saying "Got Mit Uns" as he claims that rules don't apply to him


observant 2 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like a good investment, cost him $5000 and netted a profit of $75000


autie 2 years, 5 months ago

Policy decisions have been back tracked on and now the house of cards beginning to get shakey, shakey?


billbodiggens 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe Kris could paraphrase Pogo when talking about voter fraud and simply state: We have met the enemy and he is me.


edjayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

He Haw!!! THat news makes my day.


woodscolt 2 years, 5 months ago

hmm. Maybe the voter fraud kkk has been fabricating is actually real only it is him. $5G is a small enough fine that KKK considers it just the cost of running (cheating) a campaign.

Oh but its really hard to keep track of. Gosh, we tried really hard.


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