FBI recovers missing ammunition purchased by Kobach’s office with state funds

photo by: Associated Press

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is pictured Monday, July 8, 2019, in Leavenworth.

Wichita — The FBI has recovered more than 200 missing rounds of ammunition that were purchased by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office — ammunition that a law enforcement officer said he needed to carry out an assignment from Kobach.

Current Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab issued a news release Thursday saying he had asked the FBI to find out what happened to 1,000 rounds of missing ammunition purchased during Kobach’s tenure. The FBI located the ammunition, and the remaining 218 rounds were returned Thursday morning. They will be given to Capitol Police.

“It didn’t seem appropriate to have ammunition unaccounted for, especially when purchased with state funds,” Schwab said in the statement. “We’re grateful for the help of law enforcement to ensure the ammunition was located and returned in a timely and safe manner.”

A law enforcement officer who worked as Kobach’s communications director said the ammunition was related to one of his assignments during Kobach’s tenure.

Craig McCullah told The Associated Press that Kobach asked him to investigate possible double voting and noncitizen voting, and that the missing ammunition was purchased to help him keep his law enforcement certification current.

“It was not like I was out with a firearm trying to bust bad guys who voted,” McCullah said. “It was more of an administrative thing for keeping my license.”

Kobach, who is now running for a U.S. Senate seat in Kansas, is a conservative Republican who built a national profile as an advocate of tough immigration and voter identification policies. He advised Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and afterward, and he served as vice chairman of a short-lived presidential commission on election fraud.

McCullah, who is now the director of the Shawnee County GOP, said he needed to remain current on firearms practice to keep his certification. He said he didn’t carry a gun during the voter fraud investigations.

“We never really ever thought there was any kind of a threat,” McCullah said.

McCullah said he was given permission to use his own 9mm firearm for practice. He said the ammunition was always kept at his home, and he returned the remaining rounds to the secretary of state’s office after the FBI contacted him.

He estimated he probably fired about 100 rounds a month at range between the spring of 2016 and early 2018.

Danedri Herbert, the former spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office during Kobach’s tenure there, said the ammunition purchase was not made at Kobach’s direction.

“However, it is routine for security personnel in a government agency to be supplied ammunition to maintain their certification,” Herbert said.

The FBI said it also referred the matter to federal prosecutors, but Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas, said the office would not be prosecuting anyone in connection with the incident.


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