Ethics panel looking into Schodorf post

6/12/2014

By Bryan Lowry

By Bryan Lowry

The Wichita Eagle

(MCT) — The Kansas Ethics Commission will investigate whether Jean Schodorf, a Democrat running for secretary of state, broke the state's ethics regulations with a Facebook post soliciting campaign contributions.

The Kansas Republican Party filed a formal complaint last month. The GOP announced the complaint and the commission's decision to delve deeper in a news release Tuesday.

Clay Barker, executive director of the Kansas Republican Party, said Schodorf's campaign put up a Facebook post on May 1 asking for money that included a link to make a donation. The Legislature was still in session.

Candidates are allowed to raise money from individuals but are prohibited from soliciting money from lobbyists, businesses or political action committees until the Legislature has final adjournment.

This includes messages on social media that go to lobbyists, Barker said.

"There was an ethics opinion that said that's the same as sending out an e-mail blast to a bunch of people and there's a lobbyist on the e-mail. And she had at least one lobbyist who liked her page and so got that message directly," Barker said.

"I doubt she did this knowingly, intentionally violating the law, it's just kind of sloppiness," he added, saying that the rules should be enforced.

Schodorf could be fined if the commission decides the campaign violated the rules.

Marcus Williamson, the Schodorf campaign's field director, said the commission will meet June 18.

"We're just waiting to see what the general Ethics Commission has to say, and we look forward to hearing their decision. So really what this is, it's just some early mudslinging from the Republican Party," he said.

Schodorf is seeking the seat held by Republican Kris Kobach. Republican Scott Morgan also is running for the seat.

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