The official Kansas Republican Assembly, the one that was formed in 1998 after the Parkinson/Graves take over of the Kansas GOP, has been highly successful in recruiting and electing conservative candidates. The KRA has been a natural home to thousands of conservative supporters for well over a decade. It is on the heels of this success that impersonators are expected. Unfortunately, the press has begun to lend credibility to a disgruntled political activist who’s history shows he deserves neither credibility nor attention.
The name “Kansas Republican Assembly” has been officially registered with the Kansas Secretary of State since January 1999 to a Mr. Kris Van Meteren, one of the original founders of the KRA and who is still active in the group and conservative politics in Kansas. It is based on this registration that KRA operates under the name “Kansas Republican Assembly” and can rightfully claim to be the the official KRA. It is also on this evidence that anyone else claiming to be the KRA, Kansas Republican Assembly or the official Kansas Republican Assembly are purposefully misleading Kansas voters.
In fact, there is no record of any other group beginning with the name “Kansas Republican” registered with the Secretary of State until 2003 when the Kansas Republican Victory Fund, a KRA PAC, was registered. Again, no activity until 2005 when the name “Kansas Republican Action Assembly” was registered to a Mr. Mark Gietzen of Wichita. Mr. Gietzen is also the current leader of a group which has settled on the KRA name in his quest for personal glorification in the political arena.
Mr. Gietzen failed to file with the Secretary of State and forfeited the KRAA name in October 2007. It was subsequently bought by a Mr. Jared Suhn of Topeka, another original founder of the KRA and business associate of Mr. Van Meteren. Thus both the KRA and KRAA names are owned by this organization, and anyone else using them without permission is in violation of Kansas law.
In response, Mr. Geitzen registered the name “Kansas Republican Assembly (Actual)” in 2008. This is the name he operated under after giving up the name KRAA. He has subsequently again failed to register with the Secretary of State and no longer owns the “Actual” name.
Mr. Gietzen has proven over the years to be more interested in self glorification than in promoting conservative values. The only break the KRA has experienced was when Mr. Gietzen decided to leave on his own and attempt to form his own group. It appears thus far he has been unsuccessful in replicating the hundreds of members the real KRA has across the state.
Mr. Gietzen has been a perpetual candidate for office, thus far always being rejected by the voters. In 1996, he sued a previous opponent for libel when his opponent rightfully criticized Mr. Gietzen’s family values after being charged with abuse of his first wife. In the mailer, his opponent, Mr. Paul Feleciano, stated:
“Unfortunately, for those of us who will not lie for any reason, the ‘political lie’ seems to be more acceptable than it has ever been. My opponent, Mark Gietzen, is a case in point. Mark’s favorite subject for any political discussion is ‘family values’. It seems ironic that this strong family advocate has a public record in Kansas courts of being just the opposite. His treatment of his wives show that actions do, indeed, speak louder than words.
“In July 1986, Mr. Gietzen was charged with battery (spousal abuse) of his first wife. As a result of this crime he was placed on probation for twelve months, and subsequently was divorced. In August of this year his second wife, of two and a half years, filed for divorce.
“If this constitutes Mr. Gietzen’s philosophy of ‘family values’, can we trust his judgment in making decisions that will impact each and every one of you?”
On appeal, the Kansas court noted that Mr. Gietzen failed to refute the statements made by Mr. Feleciano, which were in fact supported by previous court documents and statements made by Mr. Gietzen. The court went on to state that the admission by Mr. Gietzen was essentially an admission of guilt on his part.
Gietzen’s cause of action is based on libel. Senator Feleciano filed a motion for summary judgment, in which he set out most of the facts which are recited in his letter to the voters. These facts were set out as uncontroverted statements of fact. While Gietzen responded to Senator Feleciano’s motion for summary judgment, he did not controvert any of the uncontroverted statements of fact. It is well settled that uncontroverted statements of fact in a party’s motion for summary judgment are deemed admitted by a party who fails to controvert those facts.
The net effect of Gietzen’s failure to controvert the uncontroverted facts set forth in Senator Feleciano’s motion for summary judgment is to admit that the facts stated in the motion for summary judgment are true.
In fact, Mr. Gietzen has made it a habit to lie to the public and the press in any such fashion that will bring attention to himself. Just this past month, an email was sent using the KRA name regarding a candidate forum in the Fourth Congressional District. Not only did the email falsely state that the debate was to be between senate candidates Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran, but it also attempted to take credit for the forum itself. The debate was actually organized and hosted by the Sedgwick County Republican Party, and not Mr. Gietzen’s made up KRA.
In fact, he went further and once again claimed that his organization is the only one, “recognized by the RNC.” This is in fact a lie that Mr. Gietzen has enjoyed perpetuating for years, to the detriment of the RNC. In fact, it so bothered the RNC that they were forced to send a cease and desist letter to Mr. Gietzen, which he has apparently subsequently ignored.
The fact is that there is only one KRA in Kansas, and the group, if it can be called that, that Mr. Gietzen leads in Wichita is fraudulent. Mr. Gietzen himself has a history of not only questionable personal choices but also a very questionable public reputation as well. Any candidate associating him or herself with Mr. Giezen or his group should take care to be well versed in his past actions and fully evaluate if they want to be linked to a liar and self-admitted wife beater.
Once again, Mr. Gietzen has placed himself on the ballot for the Kansas House of Representatives in District 96. We sincerely hope that once again the voters will be well informed of Mr. Gietzens past actions. If so, we are confident that he will once again be rejected. We can only hope that media organizations, now well aware of his personal and public reputation, will limit their own association with him.