> “Netroots Nation used to “buy” Kansas State Rep District 15 in Olathe?” by Kansas Meadowlark
> KRA follow up: “Tevis: For special interest money before he was against it”
> “Tevis opens up his warchest” from PrimeBuzz
Following the posting of my findings of Sean Tevis’ July and October 2008 campaign finance reports, the candidate found time in his busy schedule to respond.
Mr. Tevis stated his strong disagreement with my findings that he lied in his October 12th press release where he claimed that his campaign had, “taken no special interest money.” Tevis argued that he refunded the money over two months later so that he could, “stay lobbyist-free.”
Apparently, Tevis was for special interest money before he was against it.
But really, there are several flaws with his logic. First, the press release made a blanket statement. We’ve “taken no special interest money.” That’s a fact. Tevis took special interest money on 7/2/08. That’s a fact. Interpret that how you wish.
Second, refunding the money doesn’t change the fact that it was taken in the first place. If he wishes to argue that refunding the money means he’s free from the influence of special interest lobbies, then he’s free to do so. Unfortunately, he continues to promote endorsements by not only the KNEA, his first and largest Kansas contributor, but also the MainStream Coalition and others. In any case, the press release didn’t say, “we refunded all special interest money so we can be free from the influence of lobbyists.” It said they’d “taken no special interest money.”
Third, there’s no way he can “stay” lobbyist free when he retained contributions from special interests over a two month period. You can only “stay lobbyist-free” if you “began lobbyist-free.” Tevis did not begin lobbyist-free, so I don’t see how he can “stay lobbyist-free.”
He also asserted, “No one in my district donated more than $50, the legal limit required to list them on the official report.”
Mr. Tevis says he believes in open government and yet didn’t voluntarily itemize all his small donations. He doesn’t have to, of course, but to not do so and then claim he’s for open government is quite disingenuous. I personally would hope as an ‘advocate’ he would want to go above and beyond what the law requires.
Yes, legally, only donations over $50 are required to be itemized on campaign finance reports.
Does this mean you can’t list them? No.
Has any candidate for state office ever filed a campaign finance report with nearly 70% of all donations listed as ‘un-itemized?’ No.
Would a reasonable person expect that someone who claims to be an advocate of open government would disclose at least a majority of his donors? YES!
So in short, since Mr. Tevis is willing to give his donor list to the Kansas City Star (which never printed it), I’m sure he’ll have no problem filing an amended campaign finance report to the Government Ethics Commission reflecting all of his donors so everyone can see who his financiers are.
But in fairness, I’d also note that Tevis seeks a solution to government accountability that is quite ingenious and desirable.
Allow Kansans to review how government spends our money. We would do this by posting all of these records online in an easily browsable and searchable format.
I wholeheartedly agree that in the 21st century, there’s no reason why citizens shouldn’t be able to see how their tax dollars are being spent. It’s an important step in government accountability and openness.
Thankfully, Republican Representative Kasha Kelley successfully fought for and passed just such an act. Now, thanks to Republicans, citizens can now review tax collection and state expenditures online. Click here to visit the KanView website.
It’s not a perfect system by any means. I sometimes can be frustrated by it myself. But it is an important first step in holding government accountable to the citizens. And thanks to Republican’s efforts, it’s here today.