The Kansas Meadowlark

Oct 13, 2006
(Updated Oct 15, 2006)

Sebelius Wants to Replace Elected State Board of Education With Her Campaign Donors?

Sebelius' "independent style" of government often involves the appointment of her political donors to various Kansas government positions and boards.   Given that, what's to keep Sebelius from appointing her contributors to run the Kansas State Board of Education?   Before discussing the State Board of Education, which has been in the news the last few days, let's review some of Sebelius' appointments to donors:

A New York Professor, Robert Kaplan, gives $25,000 to the Kansas Democratic Party on July 13, 2006 and only the Hutchinson News can find this story when Sebelius appoints him to a new Health Policy group less than a month later?  The Hutchinson News on August 13, 2006 reported this $25,000 contribution and appointment (see "Donor Named" on link):

Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed a New York City businessman to the state's new Health Policy Authority this week.

Robert Kaplan, a native of Prairie Village, also is the largest donor to the Kansas Democratic Party so far this year.

Kaplan was named Thursday to a four-year term on the just-formed Kansas health policy board charged with oversight of state medical programs and development of health policy.


Kaplan, a University of Kansas graduate, gave $25,000 to Kansas Democrats earlier this year, according to July campaign finance reports.

"I actually don't think it's any big surprise the governor would appoint somebody that contributes. She's a politician, after all," said Kansas House Budget Chairman Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls. "I just hope that he's returning to his roots and has an interest in helping us in Kansas."

Kaplan also gave $2000 directly to Sebelius' Gubernatorial campaign on June 16, 2006.   So $27,000 bought his appointment by Sebelius to the Kansas Health Policy group?  

Members of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts have given $24,000 to Kathleen Sebelius' political campaigns.  What Kansas newspaper has reported anything about that?  I'm sure there are many other examples if other appointed boards are reviewed.  

The Kansas press has been fairly silent about the many Sebelius appointments to her political contributors:

  • Aug 13, 2006:  Sebelius Replaces Appointee to Supreme Court Nominating Commission After 42 Days

  • Aug 5, 2006:  Sebelius appoints former PAC Chair of “Republicans for Sebelius” to District Judge

  • July 24, 2006:  “Republicans for Sebelius” PAC Closes

  • July 3, 2006: Sebelius appoints wife of “dean of Ellis County Democratic politics” to Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

  • Aug. 21, 2005: Embarrassing Sebelius Appointment?

  • July 22, 2005: Sebelius continues packing Kansas Supreme Court with Democrats

  • Jan. 4, 2005: A new judicial activist? Did $750 to Sebelius help get Six the Seventh?

  • Nov 1, 2003: Judge rules in Sebelius’ favor but doesn’t disclose his wife’s contributions to Sebelius? [later appointed to Supreme Court]

On Wednesday Sebelius attacked the Kansas State Board of Education and wanted the board accountable to the governor's office [see Sebelius attacks school board:  Democrat wants board accountable to governor's office, Topeka Capital-Journal, Oct 11, 2006].  

"The elected school board that we have in place doesn't function in this day and age. There's very little accountability."

Sebelius now wants to abolish the 10 elected members of the Board (or make them simply an "advisory" board with no power), and shift the board's power to the governor's office.  Is this a good idea?

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Barnett didn't think so::

“It’s a power grab,” Barnett said. “It takes one more part of government away from people who vote.”, Lawrence Journal-World, "Sebelius’ ed board remarks attacked"

“We have a school board, frankly, in spite of the service of some wonderful people, which is not accountable,” Sebelius said.

Barnett replied: “You do have accountability. It’s at the ballot box.”

Why does Sebelius want even more political appointments that she can make if she's re-elected governor? Is she really interested in finding the "best" people to serve the citizens of Kansas?  Or, is Sebelius looking for new positions for her political contributors to promote her Democratic Party agenda?  Far fetched you say?

The Kansas Board of Regents, which is a nine-member body, which governs six state universities, and supervises and coordinates 19 community colleges, five technical colleges, six technical schools and a municipal university, has become a political body without any accountability to voters.  The Regents are insulated from the political process, and supposedly the group is balanced politically, yet they have become a completely political body.  When this Board of Regents only worries about spending money for education, it is not accountable to the voters who are taxpayers and paying the bills.  

On July 25, 2005, the Lawrence Journal-World speculated that new regent members, who were about to be appointed, would likely be found on the list of political contributors to Governor Sebelius (see  Donor rolls often hold clues on regent picks):  

In the next few weeks, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will appoint three new members to the Kansas Board of Regents.

She hasn’t tipped her hand as to who her appointments will be. But if past trends continue, the new regents can be found on Sebelius’ list of campaign contributors.

In fact, 17 of the 19 people appointed to the Board of Regents in the past decade contributed money to the governor who appointed them.

Despite those ties, regents and officials with governors’ staffs insist politics plays little role in the workings of the group that governs the six state universities and coordinates activities of Washburn University in Topeka, 19 community colleges and 11 technical schools and colleges.

So if politics supposedly only play a small role in the workings of the group, you would expect the regents to be fairly politically neutral?  Hardly!  Some of the members of the current Board of Regents are the most politically active and most politically connected people in Kansas!  Sebelius has received nearly $30,000 in campaign contributions from the current Board of Regents.  See information about political contributions and political activity below.

Only one regent member, Garden City Mayor Janie Perkins, appears to be fairly neutral politically.  But Perkin's appointment by Sebelius likely had political motivations.  Perhaps Sebelius' appointed Perkins to the board to make sure illegal immigrants would get favorable treatment by Kansas Universities, regardless of the cost to taxpayers, since Perkins immigrated from Mexico to Kansas at the age of 10.

Board of Regents Member Appointed By Gives Political Money to / Member of groups
Richard "Dick" Bond (R) Bill Graves $450 to Bill Graves (1998)

Former State Senator (1987-2000); Kansas Senate President

Gave $100 to  Kansas Traditional Republican Majority -- group pledges to disempower far right

Co-chair of Kansas Children's Campaign with Democrat Jill Docking

Member Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures

Advisory Board to Steve Cloud's "GOP Club" in Johnson County. Contributed to and member of Steering Committee of Steve Cloud's Johnson County Republicans for Education, 2001.

Kansas City Star, Nov 27, 2005:  "Gone but not forgotten"

Republican Dick Bond of Overland Park may have retired from the Kansas Senate, but not from state politics.

Bond, a former Senate president and a current member of the Kansas Board of Regents, is on the advisory committee of the Kansas Alliance for Education, which seeks the defeat of conservatives serving on the Kansas Board of Education. The board is now split between four political moderates and six conservatives.

Recipient of $600 from George Tiller in 1995 while in Kansas Senate.
As Senate President  in 1997 Bond helped kill a resolution that would have compelled Attorney General Carla Stovall to argue before the Kansas Supreme Court that a fetus is a human life at the moment of conception.  Kansas City Star, March 12,  1997 ("Here's some news items you could have missed")

Janice B. DeBauge (D) Bill Graves (1999)
Kathleen Sebelius (2003)
$600 to Gov. Bill Graves

$4991  to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (2002-2006) by Janice and/or Husband, Paul

Apparently hosted an event for Sebelius in May since Paul gave an in-kind contribution on May 19, 2006 for "refreshment for an event"

Will be up reappointment by Sebelius in 2007, if Sebelius wins re-election

Husband, Paul, a Republican, gave $550 to Kansas Traditional Republican Majority -- group pledges to disempower far right

Christine Downey-Schmidt (D)
Kathleen Sebelius $1050 to Sebelius (1997-2002)

Former Democrat State Senator

Sebelius apologist:

Wichita Eagle, June 28, 2006
I am writing in response to a recent attack on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' faith and beliefs. Let me first say that I respect the governor's stance on abortion and appreciate that she knows when to make the distinction between what actually prevents abortion and what is simply legislative lip service to the conservative base.  . . .

I am proud to support Gov. Sebelius, who has time and time again found commonsense ways to reduce abortion, and I am grateful for the results she has produced.

Retired state senator
District 31

Campaign team for Donna Viola for State Board of Ed, Hutchinson News, Aug 23, 2006. 

"Downey-Schmidt also serves on the boards of directors for the Kansas Arts Commission, the Newton Healthcare Corporation, and the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. She's also a member of the Traumatic Brain Injury Association of Kansas."  Hutch News (June 24, 2006)

Husband, Gordon (D), wrote anti-Bush letters to Hutchinson News (March 15, 2003) and Newton Kansan (March 13, 2003).

Frank Gaines (D) Kathleen Sebelius $9250 to Sebelius (1995-2004) by Frank and/or wife, Beverely (D)

Democrat in Kansas House  (1969-1972), Senate (1973-1992).  Chairman/CEO 1st National Bank, Fredonia.

Donor rolls often hold clues on regent picks: One of the larger donors was current Regent Frank Gaines, of Hamilton, a former legislator who was appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in 2003. He and his wife, Beverly, have donated $10,250 to Sebelius through the years, both for her campaigns for insurance commissioner and campaign for governor.

Nelson Galle (R)
Kathleen Sebelius $2500 to Sebelius by Nelson or wife, Marilyn (R) (2002-2005)

Advisory Council Member for K-State School of Business

James "Jim" Grier III (R) Bill Graves $1,500 to Graves

Wife, Carolyn (R), gave $2000 to Sebelius (2005), $500 to Morrison for AG (2005), and $100 to Chris Biggs (2002)

Gave $100 to Kansas Traditional Republican Majority -- group pledges to disempower far right

Wife, Carolyn (R), gave to Tiller's ProKanDo PAC, and Steve Cloud's Kansas Citizens for Excellence in Education, and Responsible Republicans for Kansans.

Dan Lykins (D) Kathleen Sebelius $6250 to Kathleen Sebelius by Dan or wife, Judy

Treasurer for:

Architect for Democratic Party political money shenanigans in 2004 to "buy" the Kansas Senate using Tiller's ProKanDo money?

Candidate for Congress in KS 2nd Congressional District 2002

Janie Perkins (R) Kathleen Sebelius Only known political contribution was $50 to State Rep Ward Loyd (2004).

Garden City mayor.  Works as the supplemental program coordinator for Garden City USD 457 and previously worked as an art and elementary school teacher (Hutch News, Aug 4, 2005).

"Perkins and her family moved to Garden City from Mexico in the early '70s. At age 10-and-a-half, Perkins was placed in the second grade due to her inability to speak, read or write the English language. Prior to moving to the United States, she had lived in a part of Mexico that was not equipped with a school, running water or electricity."  Liberal, KS Southwest Daily Times, Jan 16, 2005.

Reginald  "Reggie" L. Robinson
President and CEO 
  $1250 to Kathleen Sebelius (2000-2002)

"Army officer, law professor, special assistant at the U.S. Department of Justice and chief of staff to a university chancellor. ... At Salina South High School, he played sports and became student body president. Although he had lived in Salina only two years, when he graduated in 1975 Robinson earned top awards from both teachers and classmates."  " Hutch News, Dec 3, 2002

Donna L. Shank (R) Bill Graves Co-owner of insurance company that donated $617 to Graves
Donated $750 to Graves with her husband, Al

$1000 to Sebelius in 2002 but was refunded on Oct 30, 2002 since Sebelius returned contributions from insurance agents.  

$1,000 to Sebelius in 2005

Up for reappointment by Sebelius in 2006

We need to get the cronyism out of the Board of Regents and make that group more accountable to voters. 

We need to keep cronyism out of the State Board of Education and keep the members responsible to the people through Democratic elections.  The governor should not make political appointments and take the power from the voters. 

Why does Sebelius get a free pass from the press over her political appointments?  

Also see:



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