This past November, lawyer and chief architect of Arizona’s likely unconstitutional immigration law — Kris Kobach (R-KS) — was elected Secretary of State of Kansas. Kobach is already a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City law school, serves as an immigration consultant to several local officials, and fills the role of Counsel at the Immigration Law Reform Institute (IRLI). Kobach has been actively involved in the patchwork of draconian local immigration laws that have popped up across the country. As a growing number of states are considering passing their own versions of the Arizona immigration law, this year promises to be both busy and profitable for Kobach who charges at least $300 an hour for his advice.
However, Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D) plans on introducing legislation which would force Kobach to focus solely on fulfilling his duties as Secretary of State. The Wichita Eagle reports:
The Kansas House’s Democratic leader said Wednesday that he’ll push legislation to stop Republican Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach from continuing legal work for city officials and legislators across the country who want to crack down on illegal immigration. [...]
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, told the Topeka Capital-Journal that he plans to propose a bill that would prevent statewide elected leaders, Cabinet officials and other department heads from having any outside employment “of significance.”
Davis said the measure probably would apply to the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, insurance commissioner, state treasurer and about a dozen officials appointed by the governor. But he cited Kobach as the reason the state needs such a law.
“When you’re hired to do a job by the people of Kansas they expect you to be doing it on a full-time basis,” Davis said. “I don’t think there is room for people to have second jobs.”
Kobach has promised to work at least 40 hours a week as secretary of state and handle outside legal work in his spare time. In response to Davis’ proposal, he stated “It’s a brazen attempt to stop me from making the progress and reforms I’ve made in the illegal immigration area.”
Yet, it doesn’t appear there are any accountability mechanisms in place to hold Kobach to his word. The Wichita Eagle additionally notes that Kansas law does not require a state official to list an exact amount of compensation, or to provide employment details other than client names and addresses.
Kobach’s Republican rival and Democratic opponent both slammed him during his election campaign for not promising to fully devote himself to the Secretary of State position. Kobach responded, “Some people golf in their spare time, I defend American sovereignty.”