Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said that questions about whether his employment by the University of Phoenix is a conflict of interest are an attempt by "flame throwers" to "keep the discussion off topic." Rhoades has been a vocal critic of the state's public universities. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rhoades insisted – over the strong objections of Gov. Sam Brownback and Senate leaders – that the state cut funding to public universities. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, thinks Rhoades' employment by a for-profit university is "relevant information for people to know."
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