Friday, December 14, 2007

Kansas Attorney General Resigns: Paul Morrison had no choice

[updated 6:17 pm]
[updated 3:57 p.m.]
[updated 3:41 p.m.]

By Diane Silver

See the Lawrence Journal World and Associated Press for details of Paul Morrison’s announcement. The resignation is effective Jan. 31.

I’m sick at heart, but I don’t see anything else Morrison could do.

First, there are the good government reasons. “Good government” was the phrase Statehouse insiders used to favor when they meant they were pushing politics aside and acting for the good of the state.

This scandal, all the investigations and media coverage would have dogged Morrison's every move, sucked up all his time and his staff's time and made it impossible for Morrison to do a good job as attorney general.

This state needs an effective attorney general. Having a distracted, unprofessional AG like Phill Kline was one of the reasons 58 percent of voters booted Kline out of the job last year.

Morrison also had to resign for political reasons.

As one of the most visible Democrats in the state, Morrison was helping to lead the charge against the religious right. He was also helping to push the state out of more than a century of Republican domination and into the blue column.

Having Morrison associated with the Democratic Party would have given Republicans and social conservatives an issue to rally behind. It would have sucked the air out of the Democratic resurgence.

Right now, I just want to cry. I voted for Morrison. I defended him on this blog. I saw him as a leader who could turn Kansas away from the blindly incompetent, abortion-obsessed regime of Phill Kline. I saw him as someone who could make the office of attorney general work for all Kansans -- not just those who shared one narrow religious viewpoint.

If the first reports are accurate and include all of Morrison's statement, then I have to admit that I'm a little angry that he apparently didn't even try to defend himself. Saying so little -- if that's the full extent of Morrison's statement -- is like admitting he's guilty of everything that's been alleged.

Don't the thousands of us who voted for you deserve better than that, Morrison?

One footnote: GOP Chairman Kris Kobach's statement about "questions" surrounding Morrison's interest in enforcing the law is overblown, to say the least. The only questions being raised were from the most vehement, anti-choice wing of the Republican Party.


Although Morrison didn't go into details, it seems that he did say more than was first reported. See the Kansas City Star's Buzz Blog. This makes me feel a tad better.


The KC Buzz Blog has Morrison's full statement. It's worth reading.


Just to clarify... I'm not making any judgments about Morrison's guilt or innocence. I don't have enough information to judge any of that. If Morrison is innocent of nothing more than having an affair, he is still in an impossible situation.


Sassywho said...

you know, if he was guilty of S.H. and interfering with an investigation I would demand his resignation myself!

But at this point he is still denying those charges, and as far as I'm concerned he had a duty to continue doing the job that he was elected to do. Resigning in the wake of an affair? Only in Kansas politic.

I am even more let down by this news than I was earlier this week.

grolaw said...

"Guilty" is a term of art limited to criminal charges. "Liable" is the TOA in civil cases.

The short version of Morrison's resignation is that the Gov. requested it and, while fighting the civil case (and, PK's Persecutors) Morrison would not have the time to perform his elected duties.

It is a damn shame - but Morrison has admitted that he had the affair - now he has to answer to the civil case. This didn't come as a surprise - the EEOC had 180 days to investigate.....Morrison knew what was coming and he decided not to mediate it to a settlement while it was being investigated by the EEOC.

Oh, well. The appointed AG may be even better.

Unity Blogger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Silver said...

Thanks for the comments.

Grolaw -- As far as legal terms go, thanks for the reminders, although sadly, Morrison may be involved in criminal as well as civil cases if Phill Kline has his way. (See all the stuff about the special prosecutor.)

On why Morrison resigned, there are a many possible reasons, but so far, I've seen no evidence that Sebelius requested Morrison's resignation. That could be true, but is right now unproven, as far as I can tell. Do you have inside information?

Diane Silver said...

Today is 10/19/08, nearly a year after Morrison resigned, and I have just deleted two comments from an individual who identifies himself as Craig, but does not allow anyone to read his profile. That's not the only reason why I deleted the comments, though.

Craig's comment, particularly his second one, was a lengthy -- and I do mean LONG -- conglomeration of AP news stories and his complaints about how Craig alleges that Morrison engaged in misconduct in prosecuting Craig in the past.

I believe Craig has a right to speak up, but he can post his own blog (they're free) if he wants to do that. This isn't the place.