The Kansas Meadowlark

Aug 11, 2004 
(updated Aug 14, 2004)


Who's behind the mysterious 
Kansans for a Moderate Government PAC?  
Any Connection to Kansas RNC Committeeman, Steve Cloud?


Reliable sources tell the Meadowlark that a mysterious Political Action Committee, named Kansans for a Moderate Government, was responsible for mailings in at least four State Senate districts.  

For example, the following three pieces were mailed in State Senate District 10 against incumbent State Senator Nick Jordan:


Kansans for Moderate Government
(Note X'd out Kansans for Responsible Government in return address.
Confusion with Responsible Republicans for Kansas PAC by same folks?)
Hit Piece #1 in State Senate District 10 Against Nick Jordan

 


Kansans for Moderate Government
Hit Piece #2 in State Senate District 10 Against Nick Jordan


Kansans for Moderate Government
Third Mailing in State Senate District 10 Supporting Lisa Benlon


The Meadowlark obtained a copy of the Receipts and Expenditures Report for this group filed on July 26, 2004 with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. [The Kansas Secretary of State sells PAC reports for an outrageous $0.50/page.] This report is still a bit of an enigma.

The Treasurer of this PAC is Jennifer Wright, 215 W. 9th, Wellington, KS, but the Chair of this PAC is not known (yet).  The only contributor to this PAC was Jack Ranson, 9324 W. Douglas Ave, Wichita, who donated $250 on July 8, 2004.  How could a mailing be sent to four State Senate districts with only $250?

Jack Ranson is a former RNC National Committeeman for Kansas, and happens to be the Treasurer for another PAC, the Responsible Republicans for Kansas PAC.  The address used by this group for their July 26, 2004 Receipts and Expenditures Report to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission was 9400 W. 55th Street, Miriam, KS.  This is the IBT business address of current RNC National Committeeman for Kansas, Steve Cloud.  This same address was used in January 2003 for the address of the Johnson County Republicans for Education PAC.

Steve Cloud established Responsible Republicans for Kansas as a non-profit and filed an IRS Form 8871, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status on Feb 17, 2004.  [On the same day, Cloud also filed similar paperwork for his other non-profit registered at his home address, Johnson County Republicans for Education, Inc.]

According to the Kansas Secretary of State the Chair of this PAC is Kim Wells, 4412 Nicklaus Drive, Lawrence.  The Lawrence Journal World identifies Wells as a former state Republican Party chairman who led two Dole Senate campaigns, and recently made phone calls for KU in an attempt to identify potential candidates for the top Dole Institute job.

The Meadowlark finds Cloud's purpose on this IRS 8871 a bit odd:

TO CONDUCT ALL LAWFUL ACTIVITIES UNDER KANSAS AND FEDERAL LAW TO PROMOTE PUBLIC AWARENESS RELATED TO CERTAIN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES.

Why did Cloud find it necessary to use the word "Lawful" in this description?  Could he be any more vague about what the purpose of this group was?

Jack Ranson is not only the Treasurer for the Responsible Republicans PAC filing from Steve Cloud's business address, Ranson made $1965 in contributions as shown in their Receipts and Expenditures Report filed with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission on July 26, 2004.  Eleven of the 12 contributors to this PAC gave Wichita addresses, with the other address from Moran, KS.

Ironically, Jack Ranson's wife complained in a Wichita Eagle story about "New Issue groups [that] are successful in swaying outcomes":

Pat Ranson of Wichita, a moderate Republican and vice chairwoman of the party in the state, criticized the "hundreds of thousands of dollars" the groups spent on legislative races.

"It's a little unsettling when we have so much money coming in from out of state, which are basically single-issue groups," she said. "It turns these races into something other than Kansas races."

She complained that there are no limitations on how much they can spend and predicted a proliferation of such third-party groups who will dump in unlimited amounts of money.

"It has skirted our campaign finance laws," she said.

So, Pat Ranson can complain in a front page Eagle story, but just happens to forget that her husband is hding political money, both in Sedgwick County and Johnson County, and in at least four State Senate races?

Ranson's $1965 contribution made him the second-place contributor, right behind Lawrence and Anita Jones from Wichita that donated $2000.  Two $1000 contributors were Allan & Judy Higdon, and Carolyn Grier from Wichita.

Oddly, this group still has $6792 in the bank and only spent $2672.  The group spent $1067 for postcard mailings for two house districts and one county judge position.  The PAC gave $500 to Belew for State Representative, and $500 for Langston for District Judge.  Their expenditure of $246 to Jayhawk Consulting Services (JoCo State Rep Jim Yonally's business) for a "canvas of two Sedgwick county precincts" is a bit of a mystery.

There are several reports that the initial mailing from Kansans for a Moderate Government had the original name of Kansans for Responsible Government Xed out and Kansans for a Moderate Government placed above it.

The bottom line is Kansans for a Moderate Government must have had last minute contributions and expenditures in order to mail to more than one State Senate District.  This money will remain hidden until their October 2004 report.  Likewise, it's a bit odd that Responsible Republicans of Kansas PAC raised much more money than they spent.  Their October 2004 report may be more informative.

The Eagle's story from Aug 5 did mention how weak our Kansas laws are:

The problem in Kansas is that the disclosure law is so weak it is difficult for voters to find out before they go to the polls just who is spending money to influence the outcome of the elections

And with the Secretary of State charging $0.50/page to get copies of these reports not many will see the reports that are available now without waiting until October for details.

Perhaps the Eagle can take the lead in promoting more open government in Kansas.  The Kansas City Star won't even report this news, so we won't see them taking an editorial lead for this reform in Kansas.

efg


K a n s a s M e a d o w l a r k @ e f g 2 . c o m