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GREAT BEND, Kan. - Kansas campaign finance laws contain a huge loophole that allows big corporations to tilt election outcomes with "issue ads" without ever having to report who paid for the ads. The 2010 Kansas legislature should close this loophole immediately.

You've seen the ads on TV, heard them on the radio, or received them in the mailbox, usually days before the November elections. "Call Rep. Jones. Tell him to stop letting dangerous criminals out of jail!" The ads are intended to do one thing: get you to vote against Rep. Jones in the election. But as long as the ad doesn't mention voting or elections, they are exempt from campaign finance reporting laws. In other words, Rep. Jones gets slimed days or even minutes before people vote, loses the election, and never finds out who paid for the ad.

The legislative session runs from January through May, but these "issue ads" always seem to pop up right before elections in November - long after the legislature is finished for the year. So the true purpose of the ad is to defeat a particular candidate, not to influence how they legislate.

As a general rule, Republicans want to keep the secrecy loophole, and Democrats want to eliminate it. This is because Republicans tend to be the party of Big Business and the rich, and only people or entities with money can afford these ads. The average "John Q. Public" voter simply doesn't have ten grand laying around to pay for a big "issue ad".

tom-wiggans.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - Tom Wiggans announced that he has ended his exploratory committee, and his campaign for governor. Wiggans announced he was running less than a month ago.

In an email to his supporters, Wiggans said,

What I have learned from my discussions, and from public opinion polling, is that Kansans are hardly in sync with Sam Brownback and they are deeply concerned with the performance of Congress. What I have also learned is that for a candidate who has recently returned to my home state and who has never run for political office, it will take more time and resources than I can assemble to mount a winning campaign. While I have remained involved in many activities in the state over the past years, I have spent much of my business career away from home and thus am unknown to many voters and donors.

Therefore I believe it is in the best interest of the voters for me to end my exploration of running for Governor and entering public service at this time, and instead offer my ideas and experience to state leaders, institutions, and companies and focus my energies on creating new jobs and a strong economy for the future. I am committed to continuing my dialog with the voters of Kansas and becoming fully engaged in the many issues facing our state.

brownback.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - Too little, too late Sam.

After a 25 year career in Washington, Sam Brownback has suddenly become aware of the staggering size of the U.S. debt -- and not a moment too soon, as he's ambitiously seeking the Governor's mansion in Kansas this cycle. The Kansas City Star explains:

...Sam Brownback of Kansas [snip] along with 23 colleagues from both sides of the aisle, believe that the imbalance between spending and revenue is too worrisome to ignore.

But as usual with Brownback it's just another move of political expediciency. Just as Brownback is leaving the Senate he's suddenly rediscovered his inner "fiscal responsibility" just in time for election.

During his time in Congress, a staggering $7 trillion has been added to the U.S. debt -- with hardly a peep in opposition from Kansas' junior Senator. In fact, as I'll detail below, Sam Brownback has been a leading contributor to the problem over the last two decades.

ELLSWORTH, Kan. - Rookie State Representative Don Svaty (D-108th) is a man of many accomplishments. However, he is usually introduced to people as "Josh Svaty's father." Svaty, speaking to Rice County Democrats on Wednesday night, seems smitten with the situation, and is justifiably proud of his son, Joshua Svaty, the new Agriculture Secretary for the State of Kansas.


Josh Svaty
Fresh out of Sterling College in 2002, Josh Svaty had barely reached the legal drinking age when he challenged two-term Republican State Representative Jerry Aday. Svaty stunned the political establishment when he upset the incumbent in the 2002 general election, becoming the youngest member of the Kansas House of Representatives.

When Governor Parkinson recently tapped Joshua Svaty to become Kansas Agriculture Secretary, Josh's Dad, an Ellsworth County farmer, was unanimously selected by 32 Democratic precinct committee members in the 108th District to replace his son. This is probably the only time in Kansas history that a parent has succeeded his or her child in the legislature.

We have more! This page only lists entries in a particular month. We encourage you to look back through our archives in this same category.

The previous archive is Elections: November 2009. The next archive is Elections: January 2010.

If you want to browse other topics, you can also check our Table of Contents. The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.


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This is an archive page containing all of the stories posted to Kansas Free Press in one particular topic in a particular month. These stories were published in the Elections: December 2009 section.

The previous archive is Elections: November 2009. The next archive is Elections: January 2010.

The most current posts can always be found on our Front Page.

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