Do we really have to re-introduce the one and only Kris Kobach? You know, the Kansas Secretary of State who consults around the country on development of anti-immigration and vote-fraud laws? The Birther who threatened to keep President Obama off the 2012 ballot in the Sunflower State?
Right. That one.
During last year’s election, the Kansas Secretary of State chastised U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, complaining to the media that Kobach’s office had referred examples of voter fraud to the Kansas-based federal prosecutor, but Grissom has refused to prosecute. Worse, Kobach said the U.S. Attorney didn’t “know what he’s talking about” when Grissom said voter fraud doesn’t exist in Kansas.
The AP reports today that when Kobach made these claims, he appears to have been brazenly lying (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).
[I]n a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements.
“Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution,” Grissom wrote. “Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I’m talking about.”
Wait, it gets worse.
Kobach now concedes that when he said he’d referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he had not, in reality, referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office. But, the right-wing official told the AP, Kobach’s predecessor had alerted the federal prosecutor to two relevant cases and Grissom ignored those referrals.
It turns out, that’s not true, either: federal investigators looked into those 2011 allegations and, as the AP report noted, they concluded they were not voter fraud.
Grissom told the AP last week that Kobach never replied to his letter.
“We want to uphold the integrity of the voting system and people’s ability to exercise their right and have their voice heard as part of the process,” Grissom said. “And we have the ability, we have the resources, to prosecute any case in which someone believes there has been any voter fraud or voter misrepresentation.”
Kobach acknowledged in an email to the AP last week that his office never has sent suspected voter fraud cases to Grissom, citing instead what he said was inaction on cases referred by his predecessor.
Grissom said the FBI determined two cases referred before Kobach took office in January 2011 were not voter fraud.
Kobach said last week that his office “felt it would be more productive to refer cases first to Kansas county attorneys rather than sending them first to Mr. Grissom’s office.”
“That is the approach we have taken for the last few years,” he said.
So after lying in order to complain that federal authorities don’t do enough, it emerges that when Kobach smells voter fraud he calls anyone but.
Kobach told lawmakers last month that in the 2010 and 2012 Kansas elections, for which there were 1.7 million registered voters, his office found 18 total cases where someone double-voted by voting in advance in one state and at the polls in another.
He said 15 cases were referred to county prosecutors, one was dropped because the voter had died, one was sent to the FBI and one was referred to the Texas attorney general, who Kobach said was more aggressive about pursuing voter fraud cases than some Kansas prosecutors.
Ready for the punch line? (It’s a hook.)
Kobach said action was taken in only seven cases, which is why he needs the power to press charges himself.
You know, the reportage doesn’t sound much better than the political narrative.
No, really, the guy who wants insane voting laws to combat fraud that isn’t there gets caught out lying in order to complain about federal officials and ends up admitting that the real problem is that prosecutors don’t know what they’re doing so he needs to have the power to press charges in order to show us all what the real vote fraud problem looks like so that we can all finally realize just how important it is to adopt his restrictive, regressive, counterproductive voting laws.
That guy wants the power to prosecute.
And Kansas voters, for some reason, love this stuff. They just re-elected him.
Benen, Steve. “Kobach voter-fraud allegations exposed as fraudulent”. msnbc. 10 February 2015.
Associated Press. “Prosecutors question Kobach claims of voter fraud in Kansas”. Lawrence Journal-World. 10 February 2015.