Secretary of State’s Calendar Shows Significant Time Out of State, Avoiding the Job He Was Elected to Do
Topeka, KS – Because he has failed to do the work necessary to fairly and effectively implement his own strict Voter ID law, Kansans want to know how Secretary of State Kris Kobach really spends his time. So last month a group of state leaders/taxpayers filed a Kansas Open Records Request (KORA) to find out. They will release the results at a press conference in the Capitol at 11:30 on Thursday, March 15th.
Kobach’s prominent role in the national nativist movement has led Kansans to question his commitment to his duties as Secretary of State. That is why the Kansans Count campaign filed KORA requests on February 15th for all timesheets, calendars, schedules, and phone records kept by Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The results, which will be released publicly for the first time, are astounding: serious discrepancies between what the Secretary of State says he was doing and what he was actually doing, and significant amounts of time spent in other states defending anti-immigration laws instead of doing his real job back here in Kansas.
Kansas Leaders to Release Information About How Kris Kobach Really Spends His Time
Bill Brittendall – Director of South Central Kansas Peace and Social Justice Center
Louis Goseland – KanVote coordinator
Angela Ferguson – Kansas City Attorney
Thursday, March 15th, 2012 at 11:30am
Kansas Capitol Building, Room 142-S, 300 SW 10th Ave Topeka KS
Kris Kobach has become the nation’s most notorious nativist extremist. Kobach’s involvement with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a designated hate group, put him on a top 20 nativist watch-list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Kobach currently serves as legal counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the “legal arm” of FAIR, acting as their national constitutional law expert.
Before taking office in January 2011, Kobach became the nation’s celebrity nativist after drafting Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law SB1070. Though his duties as Kansas Secretary of State do not pertain to immigration enforcement, Kobach’s status as the nation’s lead nativist has only risen since taking office as he drafted Alabama’s HB56 while in office. Kobach maintains his position at IRLI and has defended his policies against legal challenges in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas while in office. Kobach continues to assert himself as spokesperson for harsh anti-immigrant policies; having conducted dozens of interviews and written op-eds for Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and other local and national news networks since taking office. He has also made many out of state appearances to profess his nativist policies at rallies, conferences, and debates throughout the nation. Kobach recently campaigned for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in South Carolina and boasts his involvement as Romney’s immigration advisor.
While Kobach is hard at work promoting his nativist agenda throughout the country, his role as Kansas’ Chief Elections Officer has gone neglected. A voter ID bill drafted by Kobach was signed into law in April 2011 and went into effect on January 1, 2012. Though he had over 8 months to prepare state agencies to carry out this law, the first month of implementation has brought about administrative failures in every related department. Election offices were initially unable to provide documents that had not been published by the Secretary of State’s office. DMV employees continue to defer inquiries to other agencies when voters ask whether or not they are eligible for the free voter ID. Kansas Department of Health and Environment had to urgently slap together a process for free birth certificates to cover up an unnoticed poll tax written into Kobach’s law.
Kansans Count is not the first to question how Kobach spends his time. Kobach has rebuffed such doubt by repeating the claim that he works 40-50 hours a week, during regular office hours, fulfilling the duties of Secretary of State. Kansans Count says a simple Google search disproves that. The results of our KORA request will shed light on Kobach’s split priorities and provide Kansans with useful information to hold him accountable as a public servant.