Politics & Government

Ethics Commissioner Carol Williams a no-show in Gov. Brownback campaign probe

A state government official subpoenaed to testify about loans to Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign apparently did not do so at the federal building in Topeka on Wednesday morning.

Carol Williams, executive director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, received a subpoena in December to appear before a federal grand jury Wednesday morning and provide records related to loans made to the Brownback campaign.

She confirmed she was in her office Wednesday morning when the grand jury appeared to be meeting at the Frank Carlson Federal Building and Courthouse in Topeka.

U.S. attorneys and other courthouse personnel would not say share any details about what was taking place in the grand jury room.

Williams, who heads the agency that oversees campaign finance regulations in Kansas, did attend a meeting of the Kansas House Elections Committee later Wednesday at the Statehouse. She would not talk about the grand jury matter.

Williams received a subpoena last month, commanding her to appear before the grand jury and produce documents.

The subpoena was made public after the Ethics Commission received an open records request from the Associated Press.

James Cross, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, said that “grand juries are not a matter of public record” and would not comment on whether the date for Williams’ appearance was moved after it became widely known.

Brownback called the investigation baseless on Monday and said that his campaign complied with all rules and regulations surrounding campaign loans. The only loans the campaign received were from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and Brownback and his wife.

Contributing: Dion Lefler of The Eagle and the Associated Press

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.