Topeka Kansas regulators are allowing Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins to tag congressional and campaign materials with a CPA label, even though her state permit to work as a certified public accountant expired nearly two years ago.
The arrangement was approved by the Kansas Board of Accountancy in 2011 before Jenkins' permit to practice as a CPA expired in 2012, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The executive director of the state Board of Accountancy declined the newspaper's interview requests.
The Kansas board rejected Jenkins' request to apply hours she spent in U.S. House committee hearings on tax issues toward completion of 40 hours of annual continuing education required to renew a state permit. The board did, however, authorize her use of the CPA designation in conjunction with her name, without a permit, as long as she did not perform services for the public as a certified public accountant.
Jenkins' congressional office said she doesn't engage in CPA duties. She has, however, placed a CPA designation on political materials as she served as a U.S. representative and while employed as state treasurer of Kansas.
Tom Brandt, spokesman for Jenkins, a Republican, said guidelines of the U.S. House regarding taxpayer-funded mailings enabled official stationary to include information about a member's professional license. He said Jenkins' professional experience as an accountant applied directly to her responsibilities in Congress.
"Congresswoman Jenkins' extensive background as a tax practitioner is particularly relevant and extremely beneficial to Kansans as she serves on the chief tax-writing committee in the U.S. House," Brandt said.
Dan Sweetwood, executive director of the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy, said there would be concern in his state about people with lapsed CPA licenses who didn't make clear to the public they were on "inactive" status. He said Jenkins' public display of a CPA label should raise questions about the message being delivered to consumers.
"She's misleading the public," he said. "It's politically sensitive, but so what?"