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Kansas ethics panel to hear campaign finance complaints

Former Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell could be on the hook for potentially thousands of dollars in civil fines if an ethics panel finds he violated state campaign finance law.

O’Donnell faces nine counts of campaign finance violations for allegedly funneling money from his campaign account in 2015 and 2016 to his personal checking account and to four friends, according to the complaint.

O’Donnell could not be reached for comment Monday, but he has insisted in the past that he did not break state or federal law.

The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission has scheduled a hearing Wednesday in Topeka, the Wichita Eagle reported.

The ethics watchdog agency fined him $500 when he was a Wichita City Council member in 2012 for using his government computer to send out a fundraising email during a council meeting.

Because this would be a second violation of campaign finance law, each count would carry a maximum fine of $10,000, said Mark Skoglund, the commission’s director.

The allegations closely parallel a federal case in which jurors acquitted O’Donnell on 21 counts of wire fraud in 2019. They deadlocked on two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering that prosecutors later dropped.

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