Kris Kobach wants to be Kansas’ next governor.
On paper, a guy with a law degree from Yale and 7 years experience as the state’s top election official sounds like a pretty good choice for the state’s chief executive. But how has Kris actually performed?
1) Advisor to veteran’s charity
Kobach served for six years as an advisor to a veteran’s group without knowing that 94% of money raised went to overhead. After the Kansas City Star reported that the charity received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau, Kobach said:
“This is the first I’ve heard of any suggestion that the monies raised by the charity aren’t going to the various causes for veterans”
That’s bad fiscal management, Kris.
2. Administrator of Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck
Kobach vowed to take Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, a voter registration database tool, “under his wing” when he inherited it as Kansas Secretary of State. By the end of his tenure, 8 of the member states had formally withdrawn from the program due to its ineffectiveness, and Kobach was forced to indefinitely “halt” the program due to massive data security risks for American voters. He didn't even notify states of the risk on his own…it was exposed by a group of voters in Illinois. Because Kansas runs Crosscheck as a free service for any state that wants to use it, Kansas bears all the cost of running it (low) or a hack (potentially up to a billion dollars). He either didn’t know the risk or didn’t care about protecting the private data of 100 million Americans, and Republicans in the Kansas statehouse shut down a 2018 bill to require Crosscheck to obtain data liability insurance.
That’s risky, Kris.
3. Co-chair of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
In 2017, Kobach was tapped as co-chair for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI) but served as its de facto leader. In June 2017, he requested that all states send their voter files through a non-secure government email. Forty states said no citing data security risks, illegality, and violation of state’s rights. The commission met twice and was disbanded before the year was out, under shadow of a flood of lawsuits, without producing any results.
That’s bad leadership, Kris.
4. Defender of Anti-immigration ordinances
For years, Kobach has defended towns that passed anti-immigration ordinances. The towns lost big — but Kobach raked in attorney fees and boosted his own profile with the cases.
Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Missouri. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hardline anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume.
But after two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted.
That’s bad lawyering, Kris.
5. Defense of the SAFE Act
Kansas passed the Kobach-drafted SAFE Act which required Kansans to provide documentary proof of citizenship (dPOC) to register to vote rather than relying on the signed affidavit that had been used for years. After the dPOC requirement was determined to have blocked 30,000 from completing their registration, the SAFE Act was challenged in court. There were three main takeaways from the trial which Kobach insisted on personally trying in place of the Kansas Attorney General.
Kobach utterly failed to provide evidence that non citizens were registered to vote in Kansas in any meaningful numbers. If you support the SAFE Act, you should be extremely disappointed in his inability to make the case.
Kobach and his team did not provide an impressive defense of the SAFE Act, being cited repeatedly for not following courtroom procedures and rules of evidence. (Relatedly, a group of Kansas attorneys has compiled a list of Kobach’s legal flubs designed to help Kansans understand who they are voting for.)
Kobach was cited for contempt of court in his capacity as Kansas Secretary of State because he failed to notify voters affected by the dPOC requirement that they were fully registered as required by the court’s injunction. He expects Kansas taxpayers to pay the $26,000 fine.
That’s more bad lawyering, Kris.
Kobach’s performance in the courtroom, on his many special projects, and as Kansas Secretary of State all tell the same story:
Kobach should not be our next governor.