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.


chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

Right? Doesn't seem much of a disincentive to me.

woodscolt 6 years, 7 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.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

KKK? --really? Is this the level that discourse has gotten to?-- mistakes were made but to try to place a nefarious motive behind them does not seem to fit the facts!

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 7 months ago

This from the person that thinks Phill Kline walks on water? Really, KJH, this is politics as usual.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

I have never said any politician walks on water...

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

wow let's continue with the current liberal tact of attacking the opponent personally...

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

you don't sound very conservative to me...

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

It seems to me that Kobach, at minimum, isn't very good at gathering people around him who can actually and correctly handle finances and campaign legal stuff.

In this particular case, we're dealing with a man in charge of elections for the whole state who can't seem to be bothered demonstrating the correct way to behave by the way he's acted regarding his own election.

I, for one, find it hard to believe that his "main man" couldn't remember who discovered massive errors first. We're not talking minor stuff here. And then the guy blames it on "volunteers" if no other candidates depend on volunteers? Now things may not get chaotic with other candidates, but ...

The fact remains that Kobach seems unable to gather competent top people around him. I find that disconcerting, particularly in a Secretary of State.

woodscolt 6 years, 7 months ago

KKK cookin the books. Oh, but its so hard.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

remember that former Governor Bill Graves made the same type of mistake. While, in my view, there is no good excuse for a mistake it is what it is, a mistake and now he will have to be accountable for it just as other politicians have in the past. It does not reflect on his conduct in office because he has been doing a good job I am told.

billbodiggens 6 years, 7 months ago

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

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

wow an over the top personal you say this about only the politicians you disagree with...when they make a mistake?

Getaroom 6 years, 7 months ago

As many may recall Custer, you appear to have been all for these Christian clansmen many times here on the blog, as you rail against the "Liberals". Didn't you preside over the slaughter at Little Big Horn? Clearly that is a point of pride for you. Or do you just dislike all forms of government - unless it is made in your own likeness?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

what are you talking about??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? This does not make sense...

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

If he had reported them, he would have gotten $80K.

This was a dopey mistake.

Mike Ford 6 years, 7 months ago

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

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps an honest mistake??? Why always jump to dramatic conclusions!!!

KU_cynic 6 years, 7 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 . . .

jesse499 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm sorry but kline"s got him by more then a neck more like a lap and a neck.

headdoctor 6 years, 7 months ago

How can you gauge Kline and Kobach by necks considering where both of them have their head stuck?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

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

woodscolt 6 years, 7 months ago

In case you didn't read the article, it is about kobach.

saraj 6 years, 7 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.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps the unicorns are getting their revenge afterall?

woodscolt 6 years, 7 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.

grimpeur 6 years, 7 months ago

"Mistakes." Heh.

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

Richard Payton 6 years, 7 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.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 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.

woodscolt 6 years, 7 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..............

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Well if they give up the pro-life issue many of the rest of us Republicans will not give them a dime. Stopping the killing and dismemberment of unborn children should be a priority for the GOP!

BigAl 6 years, 7 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.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 7 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.

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

This, and a law professor on top of it!

Stuart Sweeney 6 years, 7 months ago

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

Zazzman 6 years, 7 months ago

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

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