Topeka Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday said that during his private dinners with legislators, which were the focus of an investigation, there were no violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.
“I would note that there was no KOMA violation,” Brownback said. “I don’t know if you saw that in the DA’s report. There is no prosecution that is taking place in this.”
But last week Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said there were technical violations of KOMA by legislators. Taylor criticized legislators and told them they needed to become better informed about the law.
Taylor said because legislators said they couldn’t remember enough details during interviews with his office he couldn’t prove substantial violations had occurred.
Asked if he planned to have similar dinners in the future, Brownback said perhaps he would and invite the media.
“Now, I don’t know if I have to feed you as well,” he said.
Last January, Brownback, a Republican, held seven private dinners with legislators at Cedar Crest, the governor’s mansion. In total, he invited more than 90 legislators, almost all Republicans, from 13 committees. Brownback discussed with them issues he planned to deal with during the 2012 legislative session.
On Monday, Brownback said his administration took precautions to ensure there were no violations of KOMA.
In general, KOMA prohibits a majority of legislative bodies from discussing government business without public notice or access to the meetings. Taylor’s investigation said that in some instances the lawmakers attending the dinners had a “limited understanding” of the law.