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Archive for Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Douglas County district attorney writes congressman over concern about NCAA Tournament ticket lottery email

March 18, 2014

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Branson's letter to Huelskamp ( .PDF )

An email sent by U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp offering a chance at winning NCAA Basketball Tournament tickets in exchange for campaign contributions was a felony violation, according to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson.

Branson wrote to Huelskamp, a Republican from Hutchinson, this morning to express concern about an email purportedly sent from Huelskamp offering entry into a random drawing for tickets to the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis, where Kansas University, Kansas State and Wichita State all will play.

Branson said a Douglas County resident inquired about an email offering the the chance to win tickets in exchange for a payment of at least $10. According to the letter written by Branson, the email provided a deadline and said that the winner would be determined at random.

“This office receives such inquiries from time to time and our answer is always the same,” Branson wrote. “Such contests are illegal lotteries under Kansas law. … The three elements of an illegal lottery are consideration, a prize and the winner of the prize is determined by chance.”

Clint Baes, a spokesman for the Kansas attorney general, confirmed receiving Branson's letter but said the office had no further comment Tuesday.

Huelskamp campaign spokesman Josh Bell produced a written statement Tuesday that claimed Branson "is misusing his official office in (an) attempt to score cheap political points."

The statement clarified that the opportunity to receive four tickets to watch the teams play in St. Louis did not require a contribution, citing a second email sent Tuesday by Huelskamp. Tuesday's email called all contributions voluntary, a statement not included in Monday's email announcing the contest.

Responding to Huelkamp's initial email, Branson said operating such a lottery is a felony under state law. Branson asked Huelskamp to immediately tell recipients any money paid to participate in the lottery would be returned to them upon request. Branson added that participants should also be told that they remain eligible to receive the prize “whether they paid any consideration to participate.”

Branson also asked the congressman to provide proof of who in Douglas County received the solicitation and proof that they have been contacted by Huelskamp outlining the new information. Branson also asked for evidence of whether the recipients requested their money be returned and proof that it was returned, and he set a deadline of March 26 for the proof.

Branson, who forwarded a copy of his letter to the Kansas attorney general, provided a copy of the email dated March 17 with the subject “Win NCAA Tournament Tickets” sent from huelskampforcongress@rurallink.net. According to the email, an online contribution of at least $10 to Huelskamp’s campaign between Monday and 8 a.m. Wednesday would enter participants into a drawing and the winner of the tickets would be revealed later that morning. The message is signed “Tim Huelskamp, Member of Congress” and includes a P.O. Box address in Fowler to which checks could also be mailed.

On Tuesday, Huelskamp made light of the KU-Kansas State rivalry, adding that he refused "to be intimidated by a Lawrence attorney likely still reeling from the 31-10 football blowout this fall and the 85-82 overtime victory by the Wildcats just last month."

Comments

Arnie Bunkers 9 months, 2 weeks ago

C'mon Tim.....ya gotta know better than that!!!!

Julius Nolan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

So, if you can point out some sports results, it's okay to break the law? Huelscamp is definitely showing how GOPTeaParty's thinking goes. Huelskamp is just another useless republican.

Richard Heckler 9 months, 2 weeks ago

WE want your resignation Tim. You are breaking the law and in turn YOUR spokesperson insulted the district attorney.

Resign your office today. Lawmakers are not suppose to be law breakers which seems to be a problem for those in Congress.

Resign!

Thomas Bryce 9 months, 1 week ago

Must be nice to get a warning about Felonious activity from the County DA so you can avoid charges by adding a Disclaimer. They just lock us regular folks up for committing a felony. No "Do Overs" for the common citizen. Only if you hold Public office? Hmm..

Richard Heckler 9 months, 1 week ago

Where's the FBI investigation and perhaps the Grand Jury?

John Macklin 9 months, 1 week ago

Just read about this in the Dodge City news (March 20, 2014) which did present a slightly different view. TEA Party raises funds via sports Lottery? Would be illegal considering the Kansas State Attorney Generals view on the matter (October 2011). Of course the information is a matter of public record for those whom want to further research the issue. Seems to me the Douglas County DA was correct concerning the Law in Kansas. Certainly TEA Party Campaign reform is needed in Kansas and from my perspective the DA appears to be doing his job. You can read the Attorney Generals view dating back to 2011 concerning this same issue: http://tinyurl.com/npebanz

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