Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sebelius fined for emails

Governor's campaign fined for ethics violation. The fine was the same size as the one Phill Kline paid for letters he sent soliciting contributions from lobbyists. Sebelius sent emails to lobbyists. It's illegal to solicit donations while the legislature is in session. Consensus seems to be that this is a fairly trivial violation, and I agree. I'd say that it's worse for the Attorney General, who's supposed to enforce the law, to violate the law, but Sebelius served on the Ethics Commission, so she should have known better, too.

I'd say it's worse for a legislator to break this law than for people elected to serve executive functions. But maybe I'm missing something devious.

While we're talking trivial violations, I guess I should mention the spat over ex parte discussions a Kansas Supreme Court justice had with some state senators regarding the school finance suit. That was bad, and Nuss shouldn't have done it, neither should the senators.

Nuss has recused himself from future action on the case, which puts him on higher ethical ground than Justice Antonin "Duckhunter" Scalia. The decision requiring the legislature to adequately fund education was unanimous, so I think Nuss's past violation falls into the category of "no harm, no foul." Had he been the swing vote on the case, or if his ex parte meeting had allowed him to sway one vote and change the outcome, I'd be worked up. But the decision was unanimous. Give it a rest.