Judge upholds $1,000 fine against Kobach for 'misleading' claims
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A U.S. district judge in Kansas has upheld a $1,000 fine on Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for intentionally misleading the court during a protracted legal battle related to his efforts to tighten voter registration requirements in the state.

In the ruling, first reported by the Election Law Blog, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson rejected a request by Kobach to dismiss the fine, which was levied on him by Magistrate Judge James O'Hara last month.

Robinson said Kobach's request for review of the penalty was "unsupportable" and also called his credibility into question.


"Indeed, his assertion in this motion for review that his editing explanation was fairly raised before Judge O’Hara in the first instance is precipitously close to unsupportable," Robinson wrote.

Kobach, who is running for governor of Kansas, was appointed in May to be vice chairman of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE's voter fraud commission, which is investigating the president's widely debunked claim that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular tally in the November 2016 election.

"While these examples do not form the basis for any sanctions award imposed by Judge O’Hara, they do demonstrate a pattern, which gives further credence to Judge O’Hara’s conclusion that a sanctions award is necessary to deter defense counsel in this case from misleading the Court about the facts and record in the future," Robinson wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Kobach in 2016 alleging that Kansans were illegally being asked to provide additional proof-of-citizenship documents to vote, in violation of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The plaintiffs in that case requested to view two documents, including a draft proposal of an amendment to the NVRA and a document about potentially altering the NVRA that Kobach presented to then-President-elect Donald Trump in November.

A photograph of Kobach's meeting with Trump in November shows the Kansas secretary of state holding the latter document.

Kobach initially refused to provide those documents, arguing that they were not relevant to the case and were protected by attorney-client and executive privileges. 

But O'Hara determined that the documents were, in fact, relevant to the case and ordered Kobach to turn them over to the plaintiffs in April.

Kobach's argument for not turning over the documents, O'Hara wrote, "most charitably, can be construed as word-play meant to present a materially inaccurate picture of the documents."

After viewing the documents, the plaintiffs requested that the court punish Kobach, and O'Hara imposed the $1,000 on Kobach.