Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission Replies Concerning Kenig Contributions

Reference is made to my previous post about Council member Brandon Kenig receiving $1000 in campaign contributions from lawyers associated with the firm and the firm itself representing the developers of the Westbrooke Green project.

I inquired of the State Governmental Ethics Commission as to the legality of this situation.

Here is their reply:

Dear Mr. Erlichman,

In reply to your letter inquiry, dated October 16, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, regarding local governmental ethics laws, has no enforcement authority but may issue ethics opinions to local government officials and employees upon request to ensure that their conduct complies with the local ethics laws (K.S.A. 75-4303a).

Local government ethics laws (K.S.A. 75-4301a, et seq.) deal largely with requirements of local officials or employees to file statements of substantial interest. Pursuant to K.S.A. 75-4304, a local officer or employee may not participate in the making of a contract with the person or business in which the official or employee has a substantial interest. By omission, campaign contributions are not attributable to whether a “substantial interest” exits, as that term is defined (K.S.A 75-4301a). Technically, campaign contributions to a candidate are not a source of income, rather, campaign contributions are to the campaign, and reportable by the Kansas campaign finance act.

 For the above reasons, allegations in your letter do not suggest a violation of the local governmental ethics laws. However, the commission cannot provide a ruling (ethics opinion), which may be issued only to the local official or employee as noted.


Mark Skoglund
Executive Director
Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission

So, it would appear that the contributions are technically OK.  IMHO, I still think they look real bad and will always wonder if those contributions consciously or subconsciously influences how Lame Duck Kenig conducts himself in the votes on the project.