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Archive for Friday, May 25, 2012

Lawmaker subpoenaed in meetings probe

May 25, 2012

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— A Kansas House member said Friday that he's been subpoenaed by a county prosecutor investigating private meetings Gov. Sam Brownback had with legislators at his official residence.

Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, told The Associated Press exclusively that he received a subpoena Thursday ordering him to appear June 7 at the Shawnee County Courthouse. Schwab was angry about being summoned to answer questions, calling it "beyond ridiculous" because he wasn't at any of the gatherings.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating seven meetings the Republican governor had in January at Cedar Crest, the governor's official residence. Brownback invited members of 13 legislative committees, with all but one of the invited lawmakers being Republicans.

Taylor's spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. The district attorney has been investigating the meetings since February and has yet to announce any findings. Brownback has said repeatedly that he's confident none of the gatherings violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Schwab said he has told Taylor's office repeatedly that he did not attend the two gatherings to which he was invited. Schwab called Taylor "a politically motivated monster" and said the district attorney's investigation is "a witch hunt."

"He's completely incompetent or politically motivated," Schwab said. "He just needs to resign."

Brownback invited more than 90 of the state's 165 legislators to the dinner gatherings in January at Cedar Crest, grouping them by committee membership. The one Democrat who was invited has said she assumed it was a mistake and didn't attend.

The governor acknowledged in March that he set up the meetings to discuss his agenda for this year's legislative session, did "most of the talking" and took questions and comments. However, he's dismissed criticism that the gatherings were business meetings, and many lawmakers who attended them have described them repeatedly as social gatherings.

The Open Meetings Act prohibits a voting majority of a legislative body from discussing government business without giving the public notice or access to the meetings.

Taylor said at the outset of his investigation that the Open Meetings Act does not apply to Brownback as an individual, and that the alleged violations are civil, not criminal, matters. Officials who knowingly break the law can be fined up to $500 per incident. But typically, a case leads to an order or agreement spelling out what steps officials will take to avoid future violations.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

What Schwab was not at the meetings? A republican RINO friend to Sam Brownback decided not to be there? This is fishy.

For some reason he is being asked to drop by.

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George_Braziller 1 year, 10 months ago

If it's "beyond ridiculous" then why's he getting his panties in a wad? Go in, answer questions from the prosecuting attorney and it's done.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Hamlet, Act III, scene II

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cowboy 1 year, 10 months ago

Is it not ironic that "lawmakers" have a problem complying with the law and cooperating with legal investigations.

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mikekt 1 year, 10 months ago

I know what they were probably doing at Cedar Crest. They were all probably sitting around a crystal ball, holding hands & having psychic communications with Richard M. Nixon! Ha,Ha,Ha!!! "I am not a crook", is going to be their new talking point, if they ever order a covert break in or theft anywhere, of politically sensitive information! Sound advise! They probably got some good advise too, from Spiro T. Agnew, as well ( like, "don't get "caught" doing what you shouldn't do, if you choose to do it, anyway!" ) They should have listened to Spiro T. because it sounds like they got caught holding a private meeting/discussion, in violation of the state law! Who forced them all to do all of that? Maybe this Rep. being called is a material witness, of some sort, who is reluctant to testify against "Big Sam" under oath, where one can get trapped as Mr. Bill Clinton did, for telling a tale or two? It's one thing to lie or misstate to the press. it's another thing to do it under oath, where you can make powerful lasting political enemies by being truthful ( or for even being politically unbiased in your truthful testimony ) or get nailed with perjury charges if you get caught telling a lie that is later discovered. Wouldn't want to be that guy!

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toe 1 year, 10 months ago

Don't care what happened. Results were small government and lower taxes. All good.

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kansanjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

The intention of the open meetings act was not social gatherings at Cedar Crest...im sure Sebelius discussed just as much politics with Tiller ... when she honored him at the governors mansion. This is a Democrat prosecutor run amok.

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pace 1 year, 10 months ago

How would Brownback describe a business meeting , where he presented ideas and took questions and answers from a select group of fellow politicians? Where he only invites some? Calling this a social gathering, just means he has the worst parties in the history of the mansion.

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pace 1 year, 10 months ago

We have had years of interpretation of the law, no fines, just endless repetition of little meetings, where they probably laugh, teaching how they can do " it" without appearing to break the rules, Lessons on how to skirt, the open meetings laws. I am sick of the "investigations" that pat the hands of anguished politicians being "unjustly" caught breaking them. How many infractions before they come up with another excuse other than they were too stupid to understand the law. The governor acknowledged in March that he set up the meetings to discuss his agenda for this year's legislative session, did "most of the talking" and took questions and comments. However, he's dismissed criticism that the gatherings were business meetings, and many lawmakers who attended them have described them repeatedly as social gatherings.

Is Governor Brownback delusional, or does he think we are. Having broke the open meetings law doing exactly what he wanted, he thinks calling the conversations social and not political is brazen brass. . Brownback should resign.

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