The Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission today fined a private citizen $7,500 for speaking to the media about a complaint he filed against state Sen. Dwayne Umbarger for misuse of campaign funds.
As far as the public knows, no hearing was conducted regarding the charges against state Sen. Umbarger. The commission has never publicly addressed the complaints or even acknoledged an investigation, but several news sources in Kansas have previously reported that the Ethics Commission is no longer investigating Sen. Umbarger and no fines against the Senator are on record.
When emailed for comment, Van Meteren still had nothing to say.
I would love to talk to you about this issue, (but) my attorney advises me that until a higher legal authority lifts the gag order the Ethics Commission has imposed on me, I really can’t.
Is that what our state has come to? Senators can funnel campaign cash and report such violations to the Ethics Commission, essentially proving a law violation, but as long as they amend their reports to be in compliance with the law, no action is taken.
And yet when a private citizen takes the initiative to root out corruption, wherever it may be, he is fined for his efforts by the very government commission that is supposed to be holding our politicians accountable.
For more in depth coverage, see today’s Kansas Meadowlark story.
KRA Blog: Ethically Challenged Commission ‘clears’ Umbarger
KRA Blog: “Ethics” Commission targets private citizen
KRA Blog: First amendment case postponed one month
KRA Blog: Freedom of Speech defended at Ethics Hearing
Kansas Meadowlark: “Free Speech” May Cost Kansas Citizen $7500
Kansas Meadowlark: First Amendment Defense Thorny Issue for Ethics Commission
Kansas Meadowlark: Fines and other actions by the Ethics Commission at their December meeting
Kansas Meadowlark: 1st Amendment Constitutional Right may become issue in Kansas Ethics Commission Hearing in January. Silence the accuser?
Kansas Meadowlark: Ethics Commission Fines Candidate $500 and PAC $2500
Kansas Meadowlark: Did Senator Umbarger violate ethics rules buying a carport with campaign money? Umbarger clairvoyant?
Kansas Liberty: Talking to press attracts Ethics Commission ire
Kansas Liberty: New campaign finance charges leveled against Umbarger
Kansas Liberty: Primary opponent says Umbarger violated campaign finance law
Kansas Liberty: Umbarger yields to ethics pressure, repays fund