Kansas GOP governor candidate used taxpayer money to pay $1000 fine in federal case: report

Kansas GOP governor candidate used taxpayer money to pay $1000 fine in federal case: report
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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach used a state-issued credit card to pay a $1,000 fine for misleading a court about documents related to a 2016 meeting with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Friday that an open records request revealed that the payment was made last year using a state-issued credit card belonging to Craig McCullah, who was serving as deputy assistant secretary of state under Kobach at the time.

McCullah, who is now seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state, told the Capital-Journal that he was not aware that his card had been used to make the payment. He said he was deployed in Ukraine with the Oklahoma Army National Guard at the time of the payment.

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“I was out of the country,” he said. “I was never told about this.”

A credit card receipt from the courthouse transaction shows that the payment was carried out by Kobach's chief of staff Bryan Harden, according to the Capital-Journal. 

A spokeswoman for Kobach said state money was used to pay the fine because "the office is the defendant in the case," rather than Kobach personally. 

A magistrate judge handed down the penalty last year after he determined that Kobach had misled a court about documents sought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a lawsuit. 

The documents regarded proof-of-citizenship requirements adopted by the state for Kansans registering to vote. ACLU lawyers, the Capital-Journal reported, had sought to review documents Kobach took into his meeting with Trump in 2016.

An Associated Press photo captured an outward facing page of the documents as Kobach walked into a meeting with then-President-elect Trump in 2016. Kobach told the court that the documents were not relevant to the ACLU's lawsuit, but the judge disagreed after reviewing the records.

U.S. District Court Judge Julie Robinson upheld the magistrate judge's decision and ruled Kobach's misleading statements “called his credibility into question.”

Kobach is currently competing for the Republican nomination for Kansas governor.