The Kansas Meadowlark

Aug 14, 2004

Partial July 2004 JoCo Political Money Report
$642,195 Raised, $609,470 Spent, $642,435 In the Bank
(from July 26, 2004 Campaign Reports)

The State of Kansas requires candidates for state and local offices to file campaign contribution reports. The reports for state offices must be filed with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Office.  JoCo Candidates must file their reports with the JoCo Election Office.  

The most recent report was due on July 26 before the August 3 primary election.  View this PDF file with summary information from these reports filed at the JoCo Election Office for these JoCo candidates:

  • State Senate

  • State Representative

  • Sheriff 

  • County Commissioner, and 

  • State Board of Education.  

Summary information from the front page of each report is in this PDF file.  This summary information includes just three numbers:

  • Total contributions and other receipts

  • Total expenditures and other disbursements

  • Cash on hand at close of period

In cases where a candidate made a personal loan to a campaign, this information is included in the "Comments" column.  

I could not find information for some candidates at the JoCo Election Office yesterday and these rows are blank.  These candidates possibly filed with the Kansas Secretary of State and forgot to file with the JoCo Election Office, or perhaps I just couldn't find their reports, or perhaps didn't file.

In Missouri ALL of these reports would be online at the Missouri Ethics Commission web site and and free to view by the public.  Both the JoCo Election Office and the Kansas Secretary of State charge $0.50/page for the public to get a copy of these reports.  While the public can view the reports for free, the fee to get a copy is exorbitantly high.  These high fees only make this information less accessible to the average citizen.

Finding information about PAC reports is even more difficult.  While the Kansas Secretary of State keeps a list of lobbyists online for free, neither the Kansas Secretary of State, nor the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission will publish a list of PACs online and for free public viewing.  The Kansas Secretary of State charges $0.50 just to get a list of Kansas PACs.

Kansas needs better campaign reporting laws, but many in the Kansas press are not willing to report much about many political money stories.  In 2002 the Kansas City Star's editorial board refused to comment on the Kansas individual that spent nearly $300,000 to affect Kansas elections in 2002.  The Kansas City Star also refuses to publish stories about how Missouri groups, primarily the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, directs money into Kansas elections in 2002 and 2004.

So what good would better campaign reporting requirements be if the press just ignores this information?  New laws should require those making large contributions, especially large last minute contributions, to make this information known publicly.  If the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, the Kansas Secretary of State, and the JoCo Election Office cannot handle the dissemination of such information on their web sites, then perhaps such groups should be required to place ads in local newspapers (e.g., in JoCo ads should be placed in the Kansas City Star, JoCo Sun, Olathe Daily News, Shawnee Herald) disclosing the amount of the contribution, the chair's name and the treasurer's names.  Public disclosure must be required before the money can be spent.

The Kansas press is preoccupied now with reporting about the money spent by the Club for Growth and the Americans for Prosperity in the August primary election.  Where is the reporting about the Kansans for a Moderate Government group that sent as many as three mailings in at least four State Senate Districts with only $250 reported?  Where is the reporting about the almost half a million raised by the Bistate Arts and Sports Group?  Or the $20,000 that Steve Cloud, Kansas RNC National Committeeman, gets from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce?  Why is the press so selective in what they report?

We need a level political playing field with or without the help of the press.


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