Lobbyists Got To See Kansas Budget Before Legislators Did
January 28, 2015

Incidentally, it has been upheld by the courts several times, IIRC, that public officials can't use their personal email accounts to evade public records laws, and this case is a perfect example of why. And yet, these lawbreakers get away with it, again and again and again. I suppose it would help if the voters didn't keep putting the secrecy cabals back in office:

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director used a private e-mail account to share a working version of the governor’s proposed budget with two lobbyists three weeks before it was unveiled to lawmakers.

Budget director Shawn Sullivan sent a draft of the proposal from his Yahoo account two days before Christmas to the private e-mails of several top administration officials and to the governor’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, and his former campaign manager, Mark Dugan, both of whom are lobbyists.

The e-mail was obtained by The Eagle this week from a source outside the governor’s office.

In it, Sullivan lays out plans to increase taxes on cigarettes, take $350 million from the highway fund over 2 1/2 years and change the way the state funds schools in an effort to rein in costs.

Asked why two lobbyists had input into the budget process, Eileen Hawley, the governor’s spokeswoman, said, “I think you’re digging to find things that aren’t there … we sought the counsel of a lot of people in that process.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said it was highly inappropriate for lobbyists to be given information on the budget before lawmakers.

“They’re not part of the governor’s staff,” he said.

Well, Senator, you might be right in an official sense, but not the practical. Just saying!

Kensinger, who left the governor’s office in April 2012, works as a lobbyist for the Club for Growth, Kansas City Power & Light and other business and political entities. Democratic lawmakers and some moderates say he continues to wield influence in the administration.

Hensley referred to him as a “shadow chief of staff.” Kensinger did not respond to a request for comment.

[...]Last April, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Kensinger was the subject of a federal probe for influence peddling at the Capitol.

The governor told The Eagle in October that he rarely speaks to Kensinger about policy, but Sullivan’s e-mail thanks the recipients for “helping us work through this budget process.”

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