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‘Stupid’ PAC fuss highlights other concerns

Kobach
Kobach

So a Wichita group can’t lawfully name a political action committee “It’s Time to Fix Stupid,” thanks to a state law that requires a PAC’s name to reflect its affiliation with an organization, trade, profession, primary interest or cause. That amusing revelation has only highlighted the limits of campaign disclosure laws, though. Wichitans, for example, are still wondering who was behind the mailer and ad against mayoral candidate Sam Williams credited to the “Greater Wichita Partnership” – a name that just resurfaced last week as labeling the area’s new economic development effort. And Kansans are still expected to believe that Americans for Prosperity isn’t a political organization that supports candidates; that’s because its mailers and ads urging calls of thanks to this or that candidate don’t qualify legally as endorsements. The story about the PAC-naming rules also is earning Secretary of State Kris Kobach a letter from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission questioning the legality of using the name “Prairie Fire PAC” for his 3-year-old “leadership PAC,” a category of fundraising committees attached to state officeholders and legislators. Kobach, as usual, interprets the law differently. But the fuss stands as another reminder of how inappropriate it is for the state’s chief elections officer to have and use a PAC to influence the outcome of elections. Yet legislators repeatedly have resisted bills to make Kobach get rid of it. – Rhonda Holman

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