Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins, campaigning for Congress on her experience in managing the state's investments, missed the three most recent meetings of the board that handles the state's pension investments.
Last night her opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, said Jenkins missed four meetings. We confirmed two absences last night - July and August - by reviewing minutes from the meetings. But not September, because the minutes haven't yet been posted.
But the folks at the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System confirmed this morning she missed September's board meeting as well.
Boyda's attack came in the last minutes of Monday's debate, after Jenkins, a Republican, had criticized her for briefly leaving a 2007 House Armed Services Committee hearing during testimony from a retired general.
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“KPERS has lost $1 billion” thanks to the financial crisis, Boyda said. “And you missed June, July, August and September... When our entire state is going through this very, very difficult time, you didn’t even phone it in. You need to start looking at yourself.”
Jenkins had no opportunity to respond to Boyda's charge but after the debate, said her absence didn't matter. She said she regularly reviews the financial data from KPERS and keeps in contact with other board members and staff through email.
"The fact that I'm not physically present does not mean I'm not doing my job," she said. She said there was "no comparison" between her absences and Boyda's 10-minute walk-out during an House Armed Services committee hearing in 2007.
Asked whether the campaign kept her away from the meetings, Jenkins wouldn't say.
"I've been a little busy," she said.