Monday, January 01, 2007

Kansas Moments: Serious questions, Phill Kline, a tainted special prosecutor & the state of the GOP

By Diane Silver

Here are a few Kansas political moments that popped up in news coverage recently.

The Wichita Eagle asks an important question about outgoing Attorney General Phill Kline's Ahab-like pursuit of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller: Has anyone thought about the children mentioned in those medical records Kline got from Tiller's clinic? Apparently the records show that children as young as 10 and 13 received abortions.

I am as pro-choice as you can be, but I also believe that pregnant youngsters are a sign that something is very wrong. Despite Kline's claim that he went after the records to investigate sexual crimes against children, Kline has publicly shown no interest in actually investigating crimes against these kids. Instead, Kline seems to only care about prosecuting Tiller. What gives and what really happened to those kids?

Andy Wollen, chairman of the moderate Kansas Traditional Republican Majority, starts off a recent Kansas City Star op-ed with a bang.
For Johnson County residents wondering who in the world elected the unqualified Phill Kline as our new district attorney, there’s an uncomfortable answer — you did.
Wollen notes that the precinct representatives who elected Kline were themselves elected in the Aug. 1 primary where only 15 percent of county voters participated. His point? Stop complaining and vote in the next primary.

Wollen also noted some important details about Kline's qualifications to be district attorney.
Kline claims to care passionately about the law, but he has allowed his law license to lapse three separate times since he was admitted to the Kansas Bar Association in 1987. He has already started to hire his ideological cronies to fill out the office, and career prosecutors have started finding employment elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the special prosecutor Kline appointed to go after Tiller has filed a motion to have the misdemeanors charges reinstated. A Sedgwick County judge has already thrown them out once and held a hearing where he refused to reinstate them.

Topping off this week's news is a report from Talk To Action that Kline's special prosecutor, Donald McKinney, is linked to, or at least an admirer of, the Army of God, an extremist and allegedly violent anti-abortion group. The tone of the Talk To Action story is so frothing at the mouth that it would be easy to discount it, but the information appears to be valid.


Rick said...

I only have one thing to say. It seems okay for Tiller to pay huge sums of money to elect cronies to protect his morally wrong business but it is wrong for Kline to hire his 'cronies.' On the face of it, I would hire those who also agreed with me if I were to be the new DA of Johnson County.

Michael Caddell said...

You may be certain that with the heavily regulated laws and oversight provided by the "free market" Republican dominated legislature - that each and every one of the children sexually assaulted - the physician performing the procedure reported to the respective jurisdictions the incident. It is common for fetal tissue samples to be sent via law enforcement couriers (when demanded by them) - to launch investigations. Doctors cannot force Texas Rangers or Tennessee state police to investigate these allegations, but many do.

Phill Kline's legal rendition of physicians performing abortions in Kansas is a true travesty of women's rights.

His appointment of McKinney, a known advocate for signatories of the infamous "Defensive Action" petition; signed by over 33 known activists endorsing the use of "lethal force" (i.e. murder) of abortion providers, staff and patients. These were public signatures, another similar petition was circulated secretly that included many more signatures of extremists endorsing the killing of the same.

Phill Kline while not endorsing in a public statement that same illegal actions against reproductive rights workers has fueled the ongoing crisis in Kansas. He has hired repeatedly those who have been either arrested for clinic blockades, i.e. Bryan Brown, or most recently the hiring of McKinney as a "special prosecutor" - funding the more extremist activists readily available in Kansas.

It is well documented that the domestic terrorists have been receiving many forms of support from the likes of McKinney, Kline, et. al. the likes have successfully infiltrated the state's government and are utilizing every opportunity to publicize their "cause."

Witness Kline's appearences on Fox's O'Reilly show, and the shows exploitation of any and all 'leaks' to publicize the anti-abortion militants.

Kline's upcoming $143,000 annual salary and his hiring of more anti-abortion activists from his empty Johnson county address, is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions of the theo-con dominated Kansas GOP.

Diane Silver said...

Thanks for commenting, Rick. It's nice to have you here.

I agree that it is normal for a new boss to bring in his own people. What I would worry about, though, if I were a resident of Johnson County, is the qualifications and the intentions of those people.

Paul Morrison leaves an experienced staff of prosecutors when he leaves the district attorney's office. Given that the job of the DA is to prosecute crimes and safeguard the people of the county, it's more than a little important to have experienced prosecutors who intend to act as prosecutors on the job.

If Johnson County looses it's experienced assistant DAs, then the people of the county may well be less secure. If the new staff of the DA's office follows what appears to be Kline obsessive focus on one issue, abortion, then the people of the county will be less safe.

As for the fact that Tiller has given money to elect pro-choice candidates... I see no more problem with that than the fact that the wealthy of the religious right and the institutions of the far right give millions to elect anti-abortion (or pro-life, if you prefer) candidates. Tiller has the same right that you and I have. There's nothing evil about that.