Despite suspension of law license, former Kansas AG Phill Kline helping out in anti-Biden election lawsuits
photo by: Screenshot
Topeka — Despite the suspension of his law license, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is helping out in a flurry of election lawsuits that are attempting to undermine Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in battleground states.
Kline, a polarizing political figure whose law license was indefinitely suspended by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2013, is now the director of the Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project. That initiative has been behind a series of lawsuits alleging that Trump was outflanked in key states by well-financed, technologically savvy collaborators eager for the GOP president’s exit.
As director of the project, Kline has speculated about election theft on Fox News and during interviews with an array of conservative political outlets.
Kline has alleged, for example, that the volume of potentially corrupt ballots in Georgia was 15 times greater than Biden’s advantage over the president. He promised to personally produce Tuesday in Arlington, Va., three whistleblowers with “substantial evidence of unlawful actions” by election officials and “widespread illegal efforts” by U.S. Postal Service workers to influence the election. And in a theme echoed by Trump, Kline said the 2020 election was one of the most lawless in U.S. history.
Kline said he was apprehensive as far back as 2019 that novel election practices would taint the vote.
“They used COVID fear to justify lawlessness, and within that lawlessness they created a system where we can’t have faith,” Kline said. “Now we’re proving that all the flaws had a direct impact on results.”
Many Kansans remember Kline as a polarizing political figure, whether he was serving as a Republican state representative, the state’s attorney general or Johnson County’s district attorney.
Kline’s desire to investigate and prosecute abortion providers was so fervent that he was found by a state disciplinary panel to have engaged in a pattern of unethical conduct, including presenting false testimony and illegally acquiring medical records of women planning abortions.
In the end, the Kansas Supreme Court determined there was “clear and convincing evidence” to require indefinite suspension of Kline’s law license in 2013.
Here is what the state Supreme Court said: “Ultimately, we unanimously conclude the weight of the aggravating factors — i.e., Kline’s inability or refusal to acknowledge the line between overzealous advocacy and operating within the bounds of the law and his professional obligations; his selfish motives; and his lengthy and substantial pattern of misconduct — weigh more heavily than the mitigating factors and merit his indefinite suspension.”
Kline’s attempts in federal court to reverse the state decision failed, including a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his case.
In his day job, Kline was rendered an academic oddity — a University of Kansas law school graduate stripped of legal certification yet employed as an associate professor of law at Liberty University, the evangelical college in Lynchburg, Va.
In the 2020 election’s legal showdown, Kline’s challenge has been to work the courts in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada to convince judges there was legitimacy to claims that mass quantities of votes were fraudulently cast and counted. The idea is to assert a brazen level of cheating, he said, capable of eventually flipping the election.
But Kline’s high-stakes campaign has been hampered by a lack of persuasive evidence of widespread irregularity.
It’s not clear whether Kline expects to win in the lower courts, because the former Kansas prosecutor has declared that the ultimate goal was to get in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Any decision altering the outcome of the presidential election — the Electoral College tally has Biden at 306 electoral votes and Trump at 232 — must come from the nation’s highest court, Kline said.
One figure Kline has taken aim at during his campaign is Facebook co-founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $400 million to provide nonpartisan support to local election offices in advance of the Nov. 3 general election.
The grant money, which was distributed through the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life, went toward a variety of initiatives intended to make it easier and safer to conduct elections during a pandemic. Those included providing personal protective equipment at urban, rural and suburban polling sites; assisting with drive-thru voting locations; and purchasing equipment to process ballots.
But Kline saw Zuckerberg’s cash infusion as something more sinister. He described it as an “insidious, coordinated and stealth campaign to manipulate this year’s elections.”
Kline said an Amistad Project research study showed that the 20 largest publicly identified donations from the Center for Tech and Civic Life went to areas Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016. In addition, he alleged in an interview with the conservative site Newsmax, without providing any concrete evidence, that Zuckerberg’s financial leverage was used to compensate election judges and officials inside ballot counting rooms who were empowered to exclude GOP observers.
In an interview with commentator Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network, Kline claimed that swing states had hundreds of thousands of suspect votes, and he alleged that tens of thousands of valid ballots were spoiled by anti-Trump conspirators.
“That can’t stand and should not stand,” Kline said. “They wanted to infuse fraudulent ballots. And they did it.”
Kline took to social media Monday to claim that nothing in Wisconsin state law allowed cities and counties to take millions of dollars from an “incredibly wealthy, interested and partisan actor (i.e., Zuckerberg) in order to ‘assist’ those cities and counties in administering the vote.” He also alleged that Zuckerberg money flowing into Georgia was used to pay ballot harvesters, compensate political activists managing ballots and consolidate counting centers to facilitate movement of ballots. Kline didn’t provide any evidence to support these claims.
Kline also said an Amistad Project consultant who developed data analysis of the election to support lawsuits was contacted by the FBI regarding his findings. “He is cooperating, and we fully support him,” Kline said.
— Tim Carpenter is a reporter for Kansas Reflector.