Kris Kobach, Part Deux.
If it seems like I’m picking on our secretary of state, I am.
I am still harping on his moonlighting on anti-illegal immigration issues while in public office. My recent column on this topic triggered an outpouring of passionate reactions, on both sides of the issue. It also led me to some new information, which is pertinent.
The secretary of state, like many other public officials, is required to file a Statement of Substantial Interests. It lists the firms and organizations that have paid the secretary in addition to his $86,000 a year salary.
The list is very interesting and raises once again the ethics of pursuing two careers – as secretary of state and as an immigration attorney. It appears implausible that Kobach could have worked only on nights and weekends for these extracurricular activities, as he has suggested.
As I noted in a recent column, Kobach was alleged to have made $100,000, while secretary of state, as part of his involvement with Farmers Branch, Texas. The Federation of American Immigration Reform hired him to author an anti-immigration ordinance, according to the past mayor pro tem of that city.
But thanks to the Statement of Substantial Interests, filed in April 2011, we know of 10 others who have paid Kobach recently. Each represents income to Kobach of no less than $2,000.
Kobach received payment from the law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, and Stewart, which claims to be one of America’s leading labor and employment law firms.
Kobach received payment from the city of Fremont, Neb., where he drafted an anti-illegal immigration ordinance.
Kobach received payment from Snell & Wilmer, a law firm in Arizona.
Kobach received payment from Maricopa County, Ariz., where he charged $300 an hour and a monthly stipend of $1,500 plus expenses, according to National Public Radio. Kobach had helped draft the famous anti-illegal laws of that state.
Kobach received payment by Digital Ally, Inc., which specializes in security cameras.
Kobach received payment from the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund in St. Louis, Mo., an organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly.
Kobach received payment from the 7th District Missouri Republican Assembly.
Kobach received payment from The Federalist Society, a very conservative legal organization.
Kobach received payment from CMP Susquehanna Corp. as a Sunday night radio talk show host for a station in Kansas City.
But the number one benefactor is the Immigration Reform Law Institute, where Kobach serves as counsel. This organization focuses on anti-illegal immigration reform across the United States. And it is a pot of money for Kobach that is presumably quite substantial.
In contrast, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback lists no outside income.
So egregious is Kobach’s moonlighting that Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis has introduced a bill banning significant outside employment for statewide officials and department heads, citing Kobach as the reason.
Although the bill will never get bi-partisan support, it makes the point that needs to be made. This is bad precedent for Kansas and an abuse of the secretary of state’s office.