Kobach treasurer could face fines

09/30/2011 12:00 AM

09/30/2011 7:00 AM

TOPEKA — An internal review uncovered mistakes in finance reports from his campaign that could result in the state ethics commission fining the campaign treasurer $5,000, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Thursday.

Kobach's campaign omitted about $35,000 worth of contributions and $42,000 in spending from finance reports filed in July and October 2010 and in January, according to Carol Williams, the state Governmental Ethics Commission's executive director.

The commission met Wednesday and scheduled an Oct. 26 hearing on whether Kobach's treasurer should be fined.

As secretary of state, Kobach, a Republican, is Kansas' chief elections official, and campaign finance reports are filed with his office, though campaign finance laws are enforced by the ethics commission.

Kobach said his treasurer, state Rep. Tom Arpke, a fellow Republican from Salina, is not responsible for the mistakes in the reports and actually helped to find them. Arpke did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

"We did this all on our own. We just did an internal review and found a lot of mistakes," Kobach said. "We did this knowing there may or may not be a fine."

Kobach said that if a fine is levied, the campaign will pay it for Arpke. Under Kansas law, a campaign treasurer, not the candidate, is held responsible for omissions or mistakes in a report. Kobach said none of the omissions were intentional and that Arpke has been "diligent" as a treasurer.

"I would not ascribe any of the errors to him," Kobach said. "Tom was instrumental in going through all of this."

Williams said the notice of the commission's hearing would not list the individual contributions or expenditures that were omitted. Kobach said dozens of small donations — $10 or $20 each — are involved.

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