Fit and unfit

Valley Voice

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Kris Kobach is out from under his rock again slinging more malice and vengeance. For the past four years this former Kansas secretary of state and far-right mercenary has posed as a man wronged, his ineptitude laid raw, exposed in the courts and confirmed by voters.
He lost a Republican campaign for governor in 2018 to a moderate female Democrat. Two years ago he lost a primary campaign for U.S. Senate. Since then, he has brandished a long list of grievances – immigrant floods, election fraud, conspiracy theories, corrupt courts, government overreach, Joe Biden’s socialism and so on.
Kobach wants to be Kansas’ Attorney General, the state’s chief law enforcement officer. If elected, he promises to blanket the Biden Administration with lawsuits.
The Democrats’ candidate is Chris Mann, a Lawrence attorney, a former Lawrence police officer, Wyandotte County prosecutor and assistant attorney general with the Kansas Securities Commission (2014).
Mann is assured, confident, well-versed in legal affairs. He says the state’s attorney general must focus on “public safety and public service” and avoid the distractions of joining vindictive federal lawsuits over election and immigration laws, or a president’s administration.
Kobach has said Kansas Supreme Court Justices should be elected, affiliated with political parties; oddly, he has also said nominees to the high court should be confirmed by Kansas Senate, a Republican chamber directed by campaign donors.
Mann believes the procedure for filling Supreme Court vacancies is based properly on judicial merit, not political affiliation, and emphasizes nonpartisan selections.
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Kobach’s professional and political history is soiled, to be kind. He is the failed overlord of Donald Trump’s national election fraud committee, which dissolved when it could find no fraud.
He was elected secretary of state in 2010 after raging about invading hordes of immigrants and fraudulent voters. He demanded border walls and prisons “to protect our freedoms.” Reelected, he convinced Republican legislators to write Jim Crow back into our election laws; this segregation offered one ballot to privileged voters and a lesser one to others, mostly the poor and the un-white.
In 2018, Kobach’s voting law was challenged in Federal Court by the American Civil Liberties Union, which Kobach had branded “a bunch of communists.”
During the trial, Kobach revealed his incompetence. He could provide no evidence, no competent witnesses, no justification for a law that a) required voters to produce various forms of identification simply to register, and b) established a two-tier ballot scheme, one ballot for qualified voters (as Kobach deemed them) and another for the not-quite qualified. The ACLU challenge dismantled it.
Federal Judge Julie Robinson ordered Kobach back to law school for a 12-hour refresher course in courtroom practice. The judge also fined Kobach $50,000 for violating an earlier court order to inform more than 30,000 suspended Kansas voters that they were eligible to vote.
Kobach had been fined before, a $1,000 hit in 2017 for lying to a federal judge about the contents of a document he had taken into a November 2016 meeting with president-elect Trump.
Kobach appealed but gave that task to Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who agreed to defend Kobach. (Unsuccessfully.)
Also in 2017, the state’s Legislative Coordinating Council ordered Kobach to tell just what he meant when he asserted in campaign materials the Legislature was corrupt. (He couldn’t.) The seven-member leadership panel includes the Senate President and Speaker of the House, and acts for the Legislature when it is not in session.
While secretary of state, Kobach was also under investigation by the Kansas Office of the Disciplinary Administrator for his involvement in voting cases, and his lies to another judge about the content of papers he took into that Trump meeting.
It has cost Kansas nearly $2 million to defend Kobach’s claims.
He continues his campaigns of malaise and conspiracy, having added the League of Women Voters to his list of “communists.”
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Doubts about Kobach stretch back for years. In 2014 he was denounced by Jim Concannon, a professor and former Dean of the Washburn University School of Law, who questioned Kobach’s fitness for office in a letter to Kansas editors.
Today Kobach advances his glaring impostures. If elected Attorney General, he says he will aggressively sue the Biden Administration with focus on immigration policy and Covid Relief. Only recently, Kobach resigned as general counsel and board member of “We Build the Wall,” after the organization was indicted in New York on charges of money laundering, among other counts.
Chris Mann – stable, equipped, resolute – evokes an attorney general who would argue the law on behalf the public interest, rather than bend it to serve special interests.

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