Local Kansas newspapers are reporting that Kris Kobach, the architect of the Arizona immigration law and candidate for Kansas Secretary of State, is being criticized by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for the financial management of the Kansas Republican Party during his tenure as chairman. According to reports, when Kobach left the group in 2009, it had less than $5,000 in its treasury. A recent audit reveals he and then executive director Christian Morgan spent $788,000 during their two years in charge, nearly $10,000 more than was contributed. The audit also shows that, under Kobach and Morgan’s watch, “state and federal taxes weren’t paid, illegal contributions were accepted and questionable expenditures were made.”
More specifically, the FEC found the Kansas GOP illegally mingled money from state and federal accounts during the two-year period. Auditors also said the party violated federal campaign laws by accepting $52,000. Kobach has responded by pointing a finger at Morgan’s “sloppy” record-keeping. But Morgan isn’t willing to take the blame. “Kobach was the boss, and he called the shots. He is looking for a scapegoat,” Morgan told the Associated Press. According to Morgan, Kobach fired key office staff that had financial oversight duties. “I disagreed with both firings,” Morgan said. Now, “he’s [Kobach] willing to say and do anything to anyone to advance his political agenda,” stated Morgan.
Kobach claims he’s not worried at all that the scandal will hurt his chances of being elected. However, the Midwest Voices blog calls Kobach an optimist. “The secretary of state is the person whom voters trust to make sure elections are run well and corporations are properly registered,” writes Barb Shelly. “Voters are going to think twice, and maybe thrice, before turning those duties over to somebody who’s just been accused of serious financial mismanagement.” Mary Sanchez of the Kansas City Star blames Kobach’s negligence on his anti-immigrant crusade. “Kobach was too busy scurrying about the country stoking the public fires against illegal immigration to detect what was occurring back in Topeka,” writes Sanchez. “He’s great at making appearances on Bill O’Reilly’s show and CNN, filing lawsuits to keep undocumented kids who grew up in the U.S. out of American colleges and defending the dignity of an Arizona sheriff who likes to put inmates in pink underwear.”
It’s been a tough week for Kobach. He also lost his side job providing much needed legal advice to Maricopa County, Arizona. Maricopa County is home to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who faces thousands of law suits, an FBI investigation, and a Department of Justice probe. Kobach admits that the new Maricopa Attorney, Rick Romley, “takes a very different view of enforcing Arizona’s human smuggling” law. That view is that undocumented immigrants shouldn’t be prosecuted on felony charges for smuggling themselves across the border and then jailed on the taxpayer’s dime. Kobach was making $300 per hour and a $1,500 per month to advise Maricopa County on how to legally make life as miserable as possible for undocumented immigrants who lived there.
Kobach has taken a leave of absence from his constitutional law professor job at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, but still works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the designated hate group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).