Ethics

Kris Kobach Will Use Taxpayer Money to Pay For His Contempt

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was recently held in contempt of federal court and ordered to pay the legal bills of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because he did not follow a court order to inform residents that they may register to vote without proof of citizenship.

According to the Kansas City Star, state legislators were preparing to pass measure that would force Kobach to pay the ACLU's bills out of his own pocket, but that measure has been removed from the state budget because Kobach's office told them it would be illegal.

Rep. Troy Waymaster, a Bunker Hill Republican who chairs the House’s budget committee, said the provision was generating “a lot of communication with one particular executive office… you know who I’m talking about.” [...]

The letter from Kobach's office, from secretary of state senior counsel Sue Becker, said the prohibition in the budget was illegal and would have required the state to expend significant resources in “any futile attempt to defend it.” Becker also contends Kobach was sued in his official capacity, not personally, shielding him from liability.

In other words, Kobach extorted his own state government for money.

Legislators should have stood up to him, but I'm going to lay most of the blame here on Kobach himself. The idea that such a measure would be illegal doesn't pass the smell test, but I have no doubt that Kobach would force the state into another protracted and costly legal battle to save his own skin or, in this case, his pocketbook.

Kobach ostensibly wants to become the next governor of Kansas even though he appears to have contempt for the state as well as the court.

  • Christopher Foxx

    the prohibition in the budget was illegal and would have required the state to expend significant resources in “any futile attempt to defend it.”

    “It’s illegal” and “it would cost to much to defend”

    Two things that never bothered Kobach (or any Republican) when passing laws before.

  • Kobach is one of the poster boys for Christian privilege and IOKIYAR. The sheer gall and corruption is staggering.

  • Badgerite

    Acting in one’s official capacity would mean acting within the clear dictates of the law, which Kobach clearly didn’t.
    Failure to follow the clear dictates of a federal court means that Kobach would not be shielded by the personal immunity that would attach to anyone acting within the law as Secretary of State. It would not be illegal for the legislature to insist that he pay for his own contempt citation since it is in no way part of the job description of Secretary of State of Kansas to violate the dictates of federal courts. Defying an order of the federal court system is not acting within the scope of his employment. When taking actions outside the scope of employment as a government official, Kobach is on his own.
    Kobach can’t complain as to any gray area or confusion on his part. It was a court order. It was his job to comply.
    He chose not to. I think Kobach is insisting that it was an internal ‘slipup’ and not intentional on his part. How do you miss that a court order was not obeyed relating to a basic function of your office?

  • muselet

    I am not a lawyer, but if Kris Kobach defied a judge’s lawful orders (which he did), there is a good case to be made that he wasn’t acting in his official capacity, quite apart from the dubious claim that making him pay his own penalty would be illegal (how?).

    If Kansans elects Kobach their next governor, they will deserve the disaster that will surely befall them.

    –alopecia

    • David Greenberg

      Amen. Kobach resides in one of the deeper reaches of the gop cesspool. Does not pass the smell test for being a human being.