Archive for Friday, March 9, 2012

Partisan appearance

If Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants Kansans to be confident in their election process, he should step aside from his partisan political activities.

March 9, 2012


As the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach’s most important job is to oversee elections in the state.

Although secretaries of state are chosen in partisan elections, Kansans expect that, once they are in office, they will rise above partisan leanings and commit themselves — both by their actions and in the public’s perception — to an election process that is fair and without partisan bias. To a greater extent than any other elected state official, that requires secretaries of state to distance themselves from partisan involvements that could raise questions about their impartiality in performing their duties as the state’s chief election officer.

Establishing that distance apparently is difficult for Kobach, who has continued to be involved in issues and dealings that raise questions about his political impartiality. He continues his work — in his “spare time,” he claims — on illegal immigration issues around the country. He also raised some eyebrows when he agreed to be the honorary chairman of a Republican candidate’s campaign for the Kansas Senate. Now, Kobach has formed his own political action committee, called the Prairie Fire PAC.

Kobach has declined to say how he plans to use funds collected by the PAC, and said the only reason others are criticizing its formation is because he is a conservative. He pointed out that no one has commented on the political activities of past secretaries of state, but it’s questionable whether any other secretary of state in Kansas has ever attempted to remain as active in partisan politics as Kobach has.

Perhaps Kobach is planning to direct Prairie Fire PAC money at immigration questions or candidates in other states. Maybe all of the money will go outside of Kansas, but, because of the lag time in campaign finance reporting, it will be difficult for Kansans to properly monitor how that money is used.

The fact remains that the most common use of PAC money is to influence elections, perhaps the very same elections that it is Kobach’s job to oversee. As an attorney and former law professor, Kobach knows the law, but even if his PAC is entirely legal, it creates a perception that our secretary of state is less than impartial when it comes to political and election matters.

In the name of fighting voter fraud, Kobach has successfully pushed measures to require Kansans to show photo identification at the polls and prove they are citizens when they register to vote. His efforts to protect the integrity of elections in Kansas also should extend to his own professional behavior.


Maddy Griffin 3 years, 11 months ago

How about he starts working for Kansas, instead of all the others, as he was elected to do.

Maddy Griffin 3 years, 11 months ago

How about he starts working for Kansas, instead of all the others, as he was elected to do.

Maddy Griffin 3 years, 11 months ago

How about he starts working for Kansas, instead of all the others, as he was elected to do.

rtwngr 3 years, 11 months ago

How about it's a free country and he can do as he wishes.

jafs 3 years, 11 months ago

If he's an elected official with certain ethical guidelines, then he can't just "do as he wishes", right?

FlintHawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Understand the differences between Freedom and Anarchy. In our Democratic Republic, personal freedom is constrained by the rights of other Americans. We are not free to "do as [we] wish." We are not an anarchy; therefore, neither you nor Kobach can do whatever you want.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

Extreme partisanship is a career-choice for Kobach. It's unrealistic to expect him to give it up, even if it means he's incapable of fairly doing the job he was elected to do.

Michael LoBurgio 3 years, 11 months ago

Kobach Our moonlighting secretary of state

Kobach was alleged to have made $100,000, while secretary of state, as part of his involvement with Farmers Branch, Texas. The Federation of American Immigration Reform hired him to author an anti-immigration ordinance, according to the past mayor pro tem of that city.

But thanks to the Statement of Substantial Interests, filed in April 2011, we know of 10 others who have paid Kobach recently. Each represents income to Kobach of no less than $2,000.

Kobach received payment from the law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, and Stewart, which claims to be one of America’s leading labor and employment law firms.

Kobach received payment from the city of Fremont, Neb., where he drafted an anti-illegal immigration ordinance.

Kobach received payment from Snell & Wilmer, a law firm in Arizona.

Kobach received payment from Maricopa County, Ariz., where he charged $300 an hour and a monthly stipend of $1,500 plus expenses, according to National Public Radio. Kobach had helped draft the famous anti-illegal laws of that state.

Kobach received payment by Digital Ally, Inc., which specializes in security cameras.

Kobach received payment from the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund in St. Louis, Mo., an organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly.

Kobach received payment from the 7th District Missouri Republican Assembly.

Kobach received payment from The Federalist Society, a very conservative legal organization.

Kobach received payment from CMP Susquehanna Corp. as a Sunday night radio talk show host for a station in Kansas City.

But the number one benefactor is the Immigration Reform Law Institute, where Kobach serves as counsel. This organization focuses on anti-illegal immigration reform across the United States. And it is a pot of money for Kobach that is presumably quite substantial.

Read more here:

Take the ba out of Kobach and you get a KOCH!

FlintHawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Me too. Yet readers who don't like certain articles or editorials invariably accuse the Publisher of being a "lefty." Roflmao.

Usually my reaction to those pieces is that they're neutral. Do you who are right of center really believe that Dolph Simons would not write the same editorial if Kobach were a Democrat? I absolutely believe that he would write the same piece if a Democrat Kansas Secretary of State were acting in the same improper manner as is Kobach.

"The company's goal is simple: to provide fair, accurate and honest information to the community in the quickest and most dependable manner." (LJW manifesto)

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

I have to blame UMKC for giving this goose stepper a degree and giving him the illusion that he was intelligent and capable of thinking. Kobach, Limbaugh, Breitbart....anyone else see a spreichen sie deutsch gaben sie ein paperin spreichen sie deutsch ouslander agenda here?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

UMKC didn't give him a degree-- they gave him a job, which is even worse.

FlintHawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Jawohl, mein führer!! Oops, I mean "mein herr."

jhawkinsf 3 years, 11 months ago

What I see is a politician behaving like a politician. That anyone might expect the governor to behave in a certain manner, a secretary of state in a different manner, a congressperson in a different manner, or even a judge is to have not been paying attention for the last many, many decades.
Partisan politics has invested every branch of government at every level. Democrats and Republicans are playing a political game with we the people being the pawns. Until that two party domination is broken, or at least challenged, we can expect more of the same. We are in the process of getting the government we deserve.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

But Kobach's approach to this job is vastly more politicized than that of his (Republican) predecessor. And I don't think that the people of the State of Kansas get any benefit from his rather overt politicization of the office of Sec. of State.

Melissa Carlson 3 years, 10 months ago

Just to be clear, Kobach's immediate predecessor was Democrat Chris Biggs. At a campaign debate, Kobach compared writing severe anti-immigrant laws for the hate group FAIR to Biggs' banjo playing. Hmmmm.... I believe SoS Ron Thornburgh stepped down with a year left in his term so that a Dem could run as an incumbent. He knew Kobach didn't want the work that came with the office, that KK had a politicized agenda unrelated to registering businesses and safeguarding elections.

billbodiggens 3 years, 11 months ago

Maybe I am reading this wrong. But, on one level it might appear that Math, an anonymous poster, is questioning the "eligibility" of other posters. Maybe I expect too much from a simple post, but I did not see any ID or verification of "eligibility" of Math before posting.

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