Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kansas: Questions are raised about Phill Kline's special prosecutor & violent anti-abortion activists

By Diane Silver

Frederick Clarkson at Talk To Action has an interesting article about what he says is a connection between newly appointed special prosecutor Donald McKinney and violent anti-abortion activists.

At the very least, McKinney may have been a friend of Paul deParrie, an anti-abortion activist who died in May. DeParrie "characterized violence against doctors who perform abortion as 'morally justifiable,'" according to deParrie's hometown newspaper, The Oregonian.

The connection between McKinney and deParrie appears to be highlighted in a comment on the Operation Rescue blog by a person identifying himself as Donald “the Dingo” McKinney. In praising deParrie after his death from a heart attack, this person noted (my emphasis):
Paul was the real deal. A true Christian warrior. He was a great "leader" in the purest sense...And there was one other thing about Paul that contantly amazed me: he and I almost always agreed about everything -- from church issues to pro-life controversys to legal tactics. He was a true brother.
Is this the same Don McKinney as the man just appointed to prosecute Wichita abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller? Does McKinney believe that violence against abortion doctors is "morally justifiable?"

If that friendship existed, then it not only raises serious questions about McKinney, but about the judgment of Phill Kline.

Tiller, by the way, was wounded in 1993 by an anti-abortion activist.

Does McKinney sympathize with violent activists who have already targeted Tiller? If so, how can McKinney fairly do his job as special prosecutor? If this is true, what does it say about the judgment of the soon-to-be district attorney of Johnson County?

Clarkson raises the questions and wonders why the Kansas news media, particularly The Wichita Eagle, have ignored this story. I wish I had the time to investigate this, but outside of doing a little Googling and finding some links, I can't do anything more.

Some might argue that this issue is moot. Attorney General-Elect Paul Morrison has already said he will not retain McKinney as special prosecutor. Kline is leaving as attorney general in less than a week. Why should anyone care now?

Personally, I believe it's important to watch what Kline does. At the very least, the quality of his judgment is an important issue for the citizens of Johnson County. Like it or not, he will be their district attorney for the next two years. The quality of his decisions will have a major impact on their lives and their safety.

But that isn't the only reason to watch what's happening. Kline shows every sign of having further political aspirations. Kansas' tiny blogosphere has been buzzing with rumors that he might run to be chair of the state GOP. He is a longtime leader of the far right wing of the state Republican Party, and he shows no sign of going away.

I don't have the answers, but I do know that questions need to be asked. Where does McKinney stand on these issues, and why did Kline appoint him?

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