Editorials

If Rep. Capps is smearing political candidates, he should resign his office

A company owned by Rep. Michael Capps, R-Wichita, left, is linked to a Web site domain and shares a mailing address with a group that launched a false attack ad targeting Wichita mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple.
A company owned by Rep. Michael Capps, R-Wichita, left, is linked to a Web site domain and shares a mailing address with a group that launched a false attack ad targeting Wichita mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple. The Wichita Eagle

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

That’s how state Rep. Michael Capps answered questions from an Eagle reporter about links between his business and a despicable smear campaign against a Wichita mayoral candidate.

Capps says he has “no idea” why his business would be listed as the owner of a website — www.protectwichitagirls.com — that echoes the campaign.

He “couldn’t begin to tell you” why a Wyoming mail forwarding service he uses was the same one used to register the anonymous company behind a shady video, which raised false allegations against mayoral candidate Brandon Whipple and is the subject of a slander lawsuit.

Capps says he was “taken aback” by The Eagle’s questions about his potential connection to the video. And then he stopped returning our phone calls.

We’re taken aback, too, by these disturbing revelations in a mayoral campaign that’s become muddier than a Kansas creek bed.

But here’s an idea: If Capps had any part in this deplorable campaign, he needs to ‘fess up, face the consequences and immediately resign his Kansas House seat. And if he’s working on behalf of anyone else, he needs to say that, too.

This isn’t the first time Capps’ integrity has been called into question.

Last year, an investigation by the Kansas Department for Children and Families found that he had emotionally abused boys during his time as a court-appointed special advocate volunteer.

He called the allegations untrue and appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings, which reversed the findings because of a technical error. But DCF said the reversal didn’t address the underlying facts found.

Capps, who was first appointed to the 85th District legislative seat to fill a vacancy before being elected to it in November, has faced calls to resign. After his election victory, Kansas Republican Party chairman Kelly Arnold said: “He’s persona non grata to us.”

During that race, Capps was at the center of yet another controversy: Democrats tried to remove him from the ballot, contending that he didn’t live in his House district. But a Republican-controlled state board dismissed that challenge.

During his tenure, Capps decried what he called false allegations and a smear campaign against him. Now, numerous signs point to him as an architect of a shadowy attack ad against a local candidate.

If he truly has no clue about connections between his business and the anti-Whipple video, Capps needs a better handle on his business dealings.

Either way, Wichitans deserve better representation in the Kansas Legislature. It’s past time for Capps to call it quits.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

  Comments