Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kansas Politics: Phill Kline gets his records; Bob Stephan wants answers & more

By Diane Silver

Five days to the election and counting, and it's all politics all the time out here in the great iconic red state of Kansas.

First up in today's election roundup: A look at incumbent Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who is locked in a tight race with Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison.

After what seems like an eon of legal wrangling, Kline finally received on Oct. 24 the medical records of 90 females who got abortions from two Kansas clinics. What will happen next? No one, apparently, knows.

The clinics who were forced to give over their medical records fear an election-eve raid. The Wichita Eagle urges Kline to "fish or cut bait."

Meanwhile, Kline claims that his raid on the medical records is motivated by nothing other then the wish to uncover rapes and incest and prosecute the evil doers. I find that I'm confused, though.

I have to admit that I haven't followed every twist in this case, but it is clear from the mainstream media coverage that the patient's identities were deleted from the records.

So, let me ask what may be a stupid question: How can Kline use these records to prosecute rapists or child abusers -- if the records do show those crimes -- when the records don't identify the victims? It appears that the only thing Kline can do with these records is possibly, if there's been a crime, prosecute doctors.

Honestly, I do want answers (no kidding here). I know pro-Kline people read this blog, so I ask you: What am I missing? How do you prosecute a rape if you don't know who was raped?

Coincidentally, Kline was announcing the receipt of those all-important records as former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan, also a Republican, was asking the state to look into possible unethical campaign fundraising by Kline.

The Lawrence Journal-World writes:

Stephan requested that the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission look into Kline's fundraising at churches and $41,552 in unitemized contributions he reported on his campaign finance statement filed this week.

...That was far more in unitemized contributions than any of the other statewide candidates listed.

For example, Kline's Democratic challenger Paul Morrison raised twice as much as Kline -- $1.25 million -- and listed only $50 in unitemized contributions.

"Unitemized contributions" mean that donors' names aren't listed. Thus, we have no idea who gave that more than $41,000 to Kline. His campaign says he will give an itemized list of donors to the state. We should pay attention to see if he does.

Finally, on the election hit parade: Details and more details on who gave how much to which candidate. These are the first detailed stories to be published now that reporters have had a chance to shift through the campaign finance reports filed on Monday.

One of the more interesting tidbits to come from these stories was the fact that a number of Republicans have given to the re-election campaign of Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

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