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Kansas Groups Reveal How Kobach Puts Anti-Immigrant Work Ahead of His Taxpayer-Funded Job

by Mahwish Khan on 03/16/2012 at 10:24am

kris kobachIn the Politico article titled, How Romney lost Latinos, there’s a discussion about the prominent role of Kris Kobach, noting, among other things:

Kobach has become a well-known name —and not in a good way — to the millions of Spanish speakers tuning into the highest-rated news shown in the country on Univision.

We know Kobach as a leading anti-immigrant voice. He is the architect of Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. However, he also has got a day job as the Secretary of State for Kansas. There’s little wonder then why people in Kansas are wondering where his priorities lie. Is his priority to work on behalf of the people of Kansas (who pay his salary) or is his priority continuing with his anti-immigrant work?

Yesterday, Louis Goseland from KanVote; Bill Brittendall, Director of South Central Kansas Peace and Social Justice Center; and Kansas City Attorney Angela Ferguson held a press conference to discuss their Secretary of State’s record. From the press release:

At a press conference today at the state Capitol, state leaders and legal experts revealed the results of their investigation into how Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach really spends his time.  The investigation was prompted by Kobach’s failure to meet the basic obligations of his job, including ensuring that voters can get the ID necessary to vote under an extreme law he championed.  The group filed a Kansas Open Records Request (KORA) last month and revealed their findings for the first time publicly today.

The results of the KORA request are astounding.  First and foremost, the findings show that Secretary of State Kris Kobach is focused on his pet issue—immigration—and his national ambitions, not his work right here in Kansas.  More than six working weeks are simply missing from Kobach’s calendar—that’s about $10,000 worth of time, paid for by Kansas taxpayers, completely unaccounted for. 

There are also serious discrepancies between what Kobach says he was doing and what he was actually doing, such as the time he claimed to be at home with his wife prior to the delivery of their baby, but was actually in New Orleans litigating one of his many immigration cases.

The groups issued a report, “How Secretary of State Kris Kobach Really Spends His Time“, which notes:

Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s calendar fails to include many key engagements he has undertaken since taking office. The majority of these involved defending immigration ordinances and laws in states and municipalities across the nation. In one such instance, Kobach’s calendar stated that he was at home with his wife Heather prior to the delivery of their baby; in fact, Kobach was in New Orleans presenting an oral argument in the Farmers Branch, TX immigration ordinance case.

The press conference garnered a lot of local coverage in Kansas, including from the AP, Wichita’s CBS affiliate, KWCH, and WIBW radio. Here’s the report from the Kansas City Star:

In February, a coalition of liberal and voter-registration groups calling itself “Kansans Count” filed an open records request for Kobach’s calendar. Members released the documents at a news conference, suggesting they showed an accumulated six unaccounted weeks in Kobach’s work schedule in 2011 and early this year.

The calendar also shows more than 100 media interviews and appearances, said Louis Goseland with KanVote, a part of the coalition and a leading group contesting the state’s new voter requirements.

Many of those interviews dealt with immigration and ranged from national media figures such as Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity to a speech before the Oskaloosa Rotary Club. The records also reflected prayer sessions in the office and staff and legislative meetings.

“He is not making our elections a priority,” Goseland said. “Instead, what he’s made a priority is establishing his political identity as a man who’s tough on immigration. Well, immigration is not his responsibility.”

Kobach sure thinks immigrant-bashing is his number one priority, much to the discontent of those at home — seems like Kansans expect him to actually do the job he’s paid to do.

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