FBI investigating influence peddling by Brownback confidants

05/06/2014 7:00 AM

08/06/2014 11:14 AM

The FBI has spent months investigating influence peddling involving some of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s top advisers, according to a report Sunday by The Topeka Capital Journal.

The report said agents are especially interested in “behind-the-scenes financial arrangements related to Brownback’s privatization of the state’s $3 billion Medicaid program.”

The inquiry focuses on a group called Parallel Strategies, a consulting and lobbying outfit founded by David Kensinger, a former chief of staff to Brownback who has overseen much of the strategy involving the Kansas Republican Party’s recent dominance of state politics.

Kensinger was the governor’s chief of staff as the administration worked to privatize KanCare, which provides Medicaid services to poor and disabled Kansans.

Kensinger quit two months before contracts were signed with three companies: AmeriGroup Kansas, United Healthcare of the Midwest and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene, the newspaper said. Those companies reportedly hired a lobbyist who works with Kensinger.

One area of interest: Did Brownback representatives urge companies or organizations to hire specific lobbying firms? And were individuals who refused to cooperate targeted for political or financial punishment?

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