Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Following up on a rumor [Updated]

While I don't want to step on anyone's toes, and the major research on this wasn't mine, I want to keep this story on the top.

There appears to be something fishy in Phill Kline's campaign finance. It involves donations from a company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. In particular, a colleague (who prefers to remain anonymous at this time) checked with Governor's Court Apartments and Bavarian Village Apartments and found that both are owned by J. A. Peterson Realty. All three contributed $2000 a piece to the Kline for AG campaign. I'll be checking with other apartment complexes, and will wait for fuller legal analysis.

Meanwhile, here's a list of contributors, and here are the apartment complexes I noticed, and obvious management companies.

Bavarian Village Apartments Inc. (owned by J. A. Peterson Realty, owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Bell Development
Cherokee Village Apartments Inc. (owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Clark Dealership Properties
CNJ Properties LLC
Governor's Court Apartments Inc. (owned by J. A. Peterson Realty, owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Hawthorne LLC (owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Horizons Apts. Inc.
Horizons East Apartments Inc.
Interest Income (? a company's name, I think)
Kings Cove Apartments Inc. (owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Northpark Residences Inc. (shares resident agent with other Siegrist holdings)
Park 25 Apartments Inc. (owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Peterson J A - Realty Co
Peterson J P - Realty Co Of Kansas
Peterson Properties Inc. (owned Roger H. SIegrist, presumed same as previous two)
Reece & Nichols
Shane Properties
Shunga Woods LLC
Southfork Apartments (owned Roger H. Siegrist)
Willow Creek Apartments Inc. (owned Roger H. Siegrist)

At this point, anything without a parenthetical comment does not appear to be part of the major stream of money from Siegrist-associated companies to Kline. Note that Siegrist himself may not have been the conduit. He gave no money in any statewide race in recent history, and volunteered to canvas with the local Sierra Club. Doesn't sound like someone who'd be channeling tens of thousands of dollars to a conservative Republican.

Anyone with too much time is encouraged to call them and ask who owns them, post answers in the comments. The guiding language from the Kansas Government Ethics Commission is:
The threshold questions are whether the corporation "financed, maintains or controls" the contribution activities of its subsidiary. … It is clear that if the two entities share the majority of members on their board of directors or are owned or controlled by the same majority shareholder or shareholders, a single limit applies.
Also worth noting, substantial contributions from National Mortgage Company and John (and Jodi) Myers, players in the Adam Taff money laundering conspiracy.

Whether the law was broken (and election law is sufficiently complex that I hesitate to make any strong assertions without a lawyer's input), Caesar's wife must be above reproach. As top law enforcement officer, Mr. Kline has spent a lot of time in the grey area of the law.

While no charges were brought over his run-in with the open meetings law, that was largely a technicality. He didn't violate the law because he isn't part of a committee (therefore doesn't fall under the Open Meetings Act). The prosecutor seems not to have addressed the question of whether he might be said to have been part of some conspiracy to violate that act, and there's no question that he violated the spirit of the law.

I'd rather have an attorney general who aims to follow the letter and spirit of the law. That ain't Kline.