Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach clarified Friday what he means by a ‘culture of corruption’ in Topeka as he has cited on his campaign website for governor.
“There’s several things that I think altogether amount to a culture of corruption,” Kobach said. “A culture where members of the legislature or other people in political positions hold on to power in a way that might benefit them, but not necessarily the public.”
One example, according to Kobach, is the lack of term limits.
“The majority of states west of the Mississippi do have term limits,” said Kobach. “We’re one of the minority of states that don’t. I gave an example of the Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, who has been in the legislature since I think I was 11 years old. He’s been around quite a while. I don’t think that’s healthy for any system. There are Republicans who have been in office for many, many terms too. There are a host of them. I don’t want to single anyone out. None have been in office as long as Mr. Hensley.”
Kobach said both Republicans and Democrats take advantage of their ability to be in the legislature for a lifetime. He also said that the lack of recording of committee votes does not promote transparency.
“This is really astounding,” said Kobach. “Let’s say there’s a controversial issue and your legislator, your representative goes and takes a vote on that issue and that vote is against the opinion of the vast majority of constituents in his or her district. You’ll never know that, because the committees aren’t recording their votes. Both Republicans and Democrats have resisted efforts to start recording votes in committees.”
Former representative Republican John Rubin from Shawnee attempted to make changes in the process during his tenure in the legislature, but those efforts were rebuffed and he is now retired.
“Representatives don’t want the public to know how they vote,” said Kobach. “I can’t think of a good reason, I can’t think of a single even plausible reason why that’s good for Kansas or good for a republic to have a system where we voters don’t know how our representatives are voting and whether they are doing what they said they were going to do in the campaign.”
Kobach believes people have a right to know what their representative is doing when they make a decision or cast a vote.
Kobach also has a political action committee that is already in place to support candidates who believe in election integrity and the things he has been fighting for as secretary of state, but he acknowledges that is just one PAC among many that can influence who is elected to the Legislature.