The Kansas Meadowlark

Jan. 23, 2007
[Updated Oct 20, 2007]


Kansas Democrats Use Congressional District Party "Committees" as  Political $uperfund
To Pump Money to Kansas Democratic Party, Sebelius, Morrison and Pollsters
(What to do when writing one check for $40,000 
to the Kansas Democratic Party would be illegal?  Write EIGHT checks!
)


Let's say you're a "homemaker" living in Los Angeles, California and you wanted to help Democrats in Kansas during the 2006 elections.  Let's say you had an extra $40,000 that you wanted to send to Kansas Democrats, perhaps because your wanted to "adopt" the home state of your new son-in-law, a  graduate of Lawrence High School in Kansas.  Your daughter's wedding in Santa Barbara to this Kansas native is still on your mind from 2003, and perhaps you want to help your son-in-law, an attorney,  make some connection to Kansas Democratic Party with your $40,000 contribution.  How can this be done legally?

Or, say you wanted to send $100,000 to Kansas Democrats to help Sebelius and Kansas Democrats put a full-court press on Kansas Republicans in 2006, but you didn't  want your name directly associated with the money?  How can this be done legally and discreetly?

The political contribution limits published on the Kansas Governmental Ethics web page limits you to $2000 per statewide candidate per primary/general election cycle.  As a person, you can give $15,000 to the state party, or  $5000 to each recognized party committee, which can be multiplied by four by contributing to each of the four congressional district party committees.  Since the Kansas Democratic Party has a common treasurer for the state party and the four congressional districts, the Kansas Democrats could easily funnel your large contribution split into parts to where it is needed.  But of course, knowing there are no limitations on contributions to a political action committee seems like an appealing route, also.

Recently while researching the activities of the Democratic Governor's Association in their support of Kathleen Sebelius and her Bluestem Fund PAC in the last election cycle, a large common set of donors was observed making contributions to all or many of the four Democratic Party Congressional District Committees, often on the same date.

This method of funneling political money to Kansas Democrats had been observed in a recent article speculating that after George Tiller gave $120,000 to the Democratic Governor's Association in 2002-2004, perhaps that money was returned to Kansas Democrats via large contributions in 2005 from the Democratic Governor's Association to the Kansas Democratic Party, and their four congressional district party committees. Since this "trick" worked before, why not do the same thing again, but with multiple groups?

Pamela M. Mullin, a philanthropist and activist "homemaker" from Los Angeles, perhaps wanted to "help" her  son-in-law, Matthew B. Cobb, who originally was from Lawrence, KS.   These groups reported receiving checks from Pamela M, Mullin on the same date,  Sept. 8, 2006:

  • $10,000 to the Kansas Democratic Party

  • $5,000 to the Kansas Democratic Party (why two checks to the KDP instead of one?)

  • $5,000 to the Democratic Legislative Victory Fund, 1st Congressional District

  • $5,000 to the Democratic Legislative Victory Fund, 2nd Congressional District

  • $5,000 to the Democratic Legislative Victory Fund, 3rd Congressional District

  • $5,000 to the Democratic Tallgrass Committee (4th Congressional District)

Pamela Mullin wrote two more checks a week later on Sept 15, 2006:

  • $3000 to Kathleen Sebelius' Blue Stem PAC

  • $2000 to Kathleen Sebelius for Governor

In just one week, with eight  checks totaling $40,000, this LA "homemaker" did her part in helping Kansas Democrats last year.  No laws were broken, and with a single person, Dan Lykins, the treasurer of all five Democratic party committees, the Kansas Democrats could easily funnel $35,000 of this money to where it was needed most.  In 2006, this "$Superfund" was used to transfer funds mostly to the Kansas Democratic Party, Kathleen Sebelius for Governor, Paul Morrison for Attorney General, and pollsters.

How important was funneling such large contributions through the Congressional District Committees to the Kansas Democrats in 2006?  The following summary of contribution reports to the Democratic and Republican Party committees in 2005 and 2006 gives the context for these contributions.  

The diagram below, The "$uperfund" for the Kansas Democratic Party, shows  which groups made multiple contributions to the four Democratic Party Congressional Committees, and how that money was funneled to the Kansas Democratic Party, Sebelius, Morrison, and pollsters.

Finance Summary
Democratic and Republican Committees in Kansas

2005-2006 Election Cycle

Committee

Democratic Party Republican Party
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
State Party  $2,151,771 $2,097,226 $63,653 $534,605 $519,289 $16,256
Recognized House 
Party Committee
$250,923 $253,842 $10,997 $128,311 $121,791 $27,894
Recognized Senate 
Party Committee
$174,324 $25,484 $99,462 $142,169 $34,364 $179,729
Congressional
District Committees
$402,849 $391,970 $27,143 $43,482 $43,141 $933
GRAND TOTAL $2,979,867 $2,768,522 $201,255 $848,567 $718,585 $224,812

Summary Based on Information from Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission

The Kansas Democratic Party out-raised and out-spent the majority Kansas Republican Party by a ratio of almost 4-to-1.  The recognized Democratic House Committee out-raised and out-spent their Republican counter-parts by about 2-to-1.  The recognized Democratic Senate Party Committee out-raised Republicans, but the Republican senate group out-spent and has 2-to-1 more money in the bank.  The Republicans seem to have the edge in money for the 2008 Senate races.

The political money difference between the Democratic and Republican Congressional Committees is vastly different with the Democrats out-raising and out-spending the Republicans by a unbelievable 9-to-1 ratio.  

Before exploring the differences in the money in the Congressional District Committees, let's review what is known about the Democratic and Republican party committees in Kansas.

Each party has a State Party Committee to oversee its political activities in Kansas: 


State Party Committees

State Party Kansas Democratic Party
Dan Lykins, Treasurer

700 SW Jackson, Suite 706
Topeka  66603
Kansas Republican Party
Emmitt Mitchell, Treasurer 
2025 SW Gage Blvd
Topeka  66604

 


Each political party has a "recognized committee" to help in campaign activities for the Kansas House and the Kansas Senate: 

 

House/Senate Party Committees

Recognized House 
Party Committee

Kansans for a Democratic House
Tom Thull, Treasurer

PO Box 2083
Topeka  66601
Republican House Campaign Committee
Bob Bethell, Treasurer

PO Box 186
Alden  67512

Recognized Senate 
Party Committee

Senate Democrats Committee
illegible signature, Treasurer 

PO Box 1811
Topeka  66601
Kansas Republican Senatorial Committee
Karen S Rippel, Treasurer

PO Box 2663
Topeka  66601
The "Senate Democrats Committee" should not be confused with the "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  "The "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee" is not a "recognized senate party committee" but rather is a "political action committee" (PAC) -- see statement of organization.  However, the Democrats seem to use both "Senate Democrats Committee" and "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee" for similar purposes.  

The illegible signature on the recent "Senate Democrats Committee" report matches the signature on the statement of organization, which supposedly is signed by the PAC chair, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley.  Based on the signatures, Senate Minority Leader Hensley is signing the contribution reports from both groups, instead of Timothy Graham, who is supposedly the Treasurer.   To promote more Democrats in the Kansas Senate, Kansas Democrats have BOTH a "recognized" committee and a PAC with a similar name, with the same treasurer at the same address.  [In 2004 apparently one or both of these groups sent out a mysterious mailing from the SDC PAC in certain senate races-- the SDC group is a "recognized party committee" while their PAC was DSCC.  The source of that 2004 mailing was quite deceptive.]


Not so well known are the "Congressional District Party Committees."  How are these party groups created?  

Precinct committees, normally consisting of one man and one woman, are elected in each Kansas precinct in each party to help with party activities in the precinct.  The precinct committees for each party vote on officers for the County Party Central Committees, and vote on delegates to a congressional district meeting.  

These congressional district delegates vote on party officers for their congressional district, as well as delegates to the state central committee.  These delegates to the state central committee vote on the state party officers, and delegates to the national party committees.  This is how the structure of the political parties is put in place, but few understand these details..  

 

Congressional District Party Committees

Kansas
Congressional
District
Democratic Party Committee Republican Party Committee
1 Democratic Legislative Victory Fund
1st district (1st Congressional)
Dan Lykins, Treasurer

700 SW Jackson, Suite 706
Topeka  66603
First Congressional District of the 
Kansas Republican Party (1st Congressional)
illegible signature, Treasurer 
PO Box 148
Gem  67734
2 Democratic Legislative Victory Fund
2nd district (2nd Congressional)
Dan Lykins, Treasurer

700 SW Jackson, Suite 706
Topeka  66603
Second District Republican Committee 
(2nd Congressional)
James J Blair

800 SW Jackson
Topeka  66612
3 Democratic Legislative Victory Fund
3rd district (3rd Congressional)
Dan Lykins, Treasurer

700 SW Jackson, Suite 706
Topeka  66603
Third District Republican Committee 
(3rd Congressional)
Domingo Soto, Treasurer

173 Metropolitan
Kansas City, KS  66103
4 Democratic Tallgrass Committee
(4th Congressional)
Dan Lykins, Treasurer

700 SW Jackson, Suite 706
Topeka  66603
Fourth District Republican Committee 
(4th Congressional)
illegible signature, Treasurer 
PO Box 3763
Wichita  67201

 

Each Congressional District Party Committee has a set of officers, Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary. In the Republican Party, the Treasurer of the District Party Committee serves as the treasurer.  BUT, for some unexplained reason, the treasurer of the Kansas Democratic Party usurps the authority of the locally-elected district party treasurers.  Apparently, the Democrats know that making decisions and funneling money through these congressional party committees is far easier with only one common treasurer -- the treasurer of the Kansas Democratic Party.  Why is this legal when this has become a political $uperfund for the Democrats by getting around existing contribution limits?

The Democrats in each congressional districts have a "PAC" controlled by the elected Democrats:

Why can the Kansas Democratic Party usurp the authority and control of monies raised by their elected party officials in each of the congressional districts?  Why does Kansas Democratic Party treasurer control the finances of all congressional district party committees, so combined with the state party, the Democrats operate a single political $UPERFUND?  

Combined with the "Coordinated Campaign" effort, the Democrats operate more as single entity statewide, than individual and locally-elected party groups.  


County Party Central Committees

The precinct committees for each party vote on officers for the County Party Central Committee in each county, and on matters coming before the committee.  However, the political money involved in the County Party Central Committees in Kansas has long been a mystery.  Soon the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission will publish the contribution reports online for the various County Party Committees.  Some County Parties give or receive contributions from a Congressional District Party Committee, or even the State Party Committee, but an overall look of at all 105 committees for each party has never been possible.  

The Johnson County Republican Party Central Committee has filed contribution reports at the Johnson County Election Office for years, while the Johnson County Democratic Party Central Committee hasn't filed a report there in over a decade.  No one at the Johnson County Election Office can explain why one party filed reports, but the other party did not.  No one seems to know what rules even apply to the county central committees.  


Shown below are Finance Summaries for the various Democratic and Republican Party Committees in Kansas during the 2005-2006 election cycle:

Finance Summary
State Party Committees in Kansas

2005-2006 Election Cycle
(State Accounts -- Does not include "Federal" Account info Filed with FEC)

   Report Date Democratic Party Committee Republican Party Committee
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
State Party 01/10/2006 $436,237 $424,170 $21,174 $144,319 $136,045 $9,215
07/24/2006 $561,328 $369,808 $212,694 $73,376 $34,807 $47,784
10/30/2006 $850,682 $968,230 $95,147 $94,149 $123,070 $18,863
01/10/2007 $303,524 $335,018 $63,653 $222,761 $225,367 $16,256
TOTAL $2,151,771 $2,097,226   $534,605 $519,289    

Finance Summary
House/Senate Party Committees
2005-2006 Election Cycle

   Report Date Democratic Party Committee Republican Party Committee
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
Recognized House 
Party Committee
01/10/2006 $84,155 $55,435 $42,637 $42,735 $6,869 $56,241
07/24/2006 $14,285 $4,890 $52,032 $1,200 $0 $57,441
10/30/2006 $127,398 $110,098 $69,332 $57,600 $28,367 $87,674
01/10/2007 $25,085 $83,419 $10,997 $26,776 $86,555 $27,894
TOTAL $250,923 $253,842    $128,311 $121,791   

 

   Report Date Democratic Party Committee Republican Party Committee
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
Recognized Senate 
Party Committee
01/10/2006 $56,940 $7,564 $78,509 $71,394 $20,123 $123,196
07/24/2006 $78,509 $10,133 $68,375 $3,721 $695 $126,222
10/30/2006 $0 $7,787 $60,587 $10,121 $681 $135,662
01/10/2007 $38,875 $0 $99,462 $56,933 $12,865 $179,729
TOTAL $174,324 $25,484      $142,169 $34,364   

Finance Summary
Democratic and Republican Congressional District Committees in Kansas
(The "$uperfund" for the Kansas Democratic Party)

2005-2006 Election Cycle

Kansas
Congressional
District
Report
Date
Democratic Party Committee Republican Party Committee
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
Congressional
District 1
01/10/2006 $54,496 $15,000 $44,526

N/A

07/24/2006 $15,148 $0 $59,674

N/A

10/30/2006 $30,347 $77,900 $12,122 $100 $441 $679
01/10/2007 $10,138 $15,000 $7,260 $3,322 $3,897 $104
TOTAL $110,129 $107,900   $3,422 $4,338    
Congressional
District 2
01/10/2006 $30,000 $15,007 $17,484 $5,395 $4,928 $2,509
07/24/2006 $10,049 $0 $27,534 $4,946 $741 $4,205
10/30/2006 $40,118 $55,900 $11,752 $1,010 $5,071 $134
01/10/2007 $10,048 $15,000 $6,801 $500 $500 $134
TOTAL $90,215 $85,907   $11,851 $11,240     
Congressional
District 3
01/10/2006 $54,165 $15,036 $47,869 $1,615 $940 $674
07/24/2006 $5,127 $0 $52,997 $0 $0 $674
10/30/2006 $42,215 $76,853 $18,358 $0 $459 $214
01/10/2007 $12,276 $24,268 $6,366 $231 $174 $272
TOTAL $113,783 $116,157   $1,846 $1,573     
Congressional
District 4
01/10/2006 $25,000 $15,006 $9,993 $3941 $3682 $310
07/24/2006 $18,552 $0 $28,546 $2,422 $150 $2,581
10/30/2006 $35,126 $47,000 $16,672 $8,500 $10,650 $431
01/10/2007 $10,044 $20,000 $6,716 $11,500 $11,508 $423
TOTAL $88,722 $82,006   $26,363 $25,990     
GRAND TOTAL $402,849 $391,970 $27,143 $43,482 $43,141 $933

 


The following diagram shows which groups made multiple contributions to the 
Four Democratic Party Congressional Committees, and
how that money was funneled to the Kansas Democratic Party, Sebelius, Morrison, and Pollsters

The "$uperfund" for the Kansas Democratic Party

 

Key:
  • 1:  Democratic Legislative Victory Fund -- 1st District
  • 2:  Democratic Legislative Victory Fund -- 2nd District
  • 3:  Democratic Legislative Victory Fund -- 3rd District
  • 4:  Democratic Tallgrass Committee -- 4th District
  • K:  Kansas Democratic Party
  • H:  Kansans for a Democratic House
  • S:  Senate Democrats Committee

Each letter shows destination or source of payment depending on context, along with date and amount.

Notes:  

  • In addition to $200,000 from the Democratic Governor's Association, The Katheleen Sebelius Blue Stem PAC received $3000 from Pamela Mulling Living Trust, and $15,000 from the Midwest Region Laborers Political League.  All three of these contributors also gave money in the scheme above.  
  • Sebelius' Blue Stem PAC gave a total of $32,000 to County Parties in Douglas, Ellis, Johnson, Labette, Reno, Riley, Sedgwick and Shawnee Counties.
  • In addition to the $125,000 shown in the diagram above that Kansas Democrats gave Cooper & Secrest for polling, Sebelius' Blue Stem PAC gave another $35,990.
  • The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, Washington, DC, gave $2000 to Kathleen Sebelius on 12/14/2005 and another $2000 on 8/3/2006 according to their IRS 8872 forms filed in 2006.

 


The Elected Democratic Party Congressional District "PACs" 
[Non-Elected Congressional "Victory Fund" Groups Usurped by the Kansas Democratic Party to form Political Superfund]

Kansas
Congressional
District "PAC"
Report
Date
Democratic Party "PAC"
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
First District 
Democratic Party
 
PAC
01/10/2006 $2,230 $1,522 $1,751
07/24/2006 $,1030 $46 $2,735
10/30/2006 $0 $2500 $221
01/10/2007 $0 $0 $221
TOTAL $2,230 $4,068  
Kansas Democratic 
Second District Committee
 
PAC
01/10/2006 $839 $766 $421
07/24/2006 $0 $85 $336
10/30/2006 $0 $0 $336
01/10/2007 $0 $0 $336
TOTAL $839 $851  
Kansas 3rd Congressional 
District Democratic Caucus
 
PAC
01/10/2006 $5,472 $2,176 $5,167
07/24/2006 $150 $40 $5,277
10/30/2006 $0 $3,320 $2,407
01/10/2007 $0 $450 $1,957
TOTAL $5,622 $5,986  
Kansas 4th District Democratic
 Party Committee
PAC
01/10/2006 $634 $210 $1,169
07/24/2006 $240 $35 $1,374
10/30/2006 $0 $0 $1,374
01/10/2007 $0 $0 $1,374
TOTAL $874 $245  
GRAND TOTAL $9,565 $11,150 $3,888

 

Why isn't the district party treasurer, who is elected by local Democrats in each district, allowed to control the huge funds being funneled through the congressional district party committees, instead of being forced to have a separate "PAC" to account for their political contributions and expenditures?

 


The "PAC" that looks like and acts like a Democratic Party Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
PO Box 1811, Topeka KS  66601
(Same address as "recognized Senate  Party Committee," Senate Democrats Committee)

Report Date Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Money Raised Money Spent In the Bank
01/10/2006 $31,575 $15,077 $17,076
07/24/2006 $57,450 $10,149 $64,376
10/30/2006 $6,608 $6,094 $64,889
01/10/2007

Not Available -- Link Broken on Ethics web site

TOTAL pending pending     

 

Contribution to this PAC from sources who were also frequent contributors to the Democratic Congressional District Committees:
  • 3/30/2005, Ruffin Companies (Phil Ruffin), Wichita, $500
  • 3/30/2005, Kansas NEA PAC, Topeka, $1000
  • 3/30/2005, Heavy Constructors, KCMO, $1000
  • 3/30/2005, Carpenter's District Council of KC & Vicinity, KCMO, $5000
  • 4/5/2006, Kansas NEA PAC, Topeka, $5000
  • 4/5/2006, Phill Ruffin, Wichita, $5000
  • 4/5/2006, Carpenter's District Council of KC & Vicinity, KCMO, $2000
  • 4/5/2006, Deffenbaugh Industries, Shawnee, $2000
  • 4/11/2006, Heavy Constructors, KCMO, $3500
  • 8/22/2006, Heavy Constructors, KCMO, $1000

Other Notable Contributions:

  • 3/30/2005, Women's Health Care Services, Wichita (George Tiller's clinic), $5000
    (note: 12/13/2005, Dr George Tiller, Wichita contributed $5000 to the "other" Senate group, Senate Democrats Committee, on the same date as Ruffin Companies, KNEA, the Carpenter's group,  and the Heavy Constructors, just like on 3/30/2005.  Do these groups often meet on the same dates to make joint contributions?  Also see connection to Democratic Governors' Association.)
  • 4/5/2006, George Tiller, Wichita, $5000  (The same groups met on 3/30/2005, 12/13/2005 and 4/5/2006?)

Donations by this PAC, which are similar to Democratic Congressional District Committees:

  • 12/2/2005, Sebelius for Governor, $2000
  • 3/3/2006, Kansas Democratic Party, $5000
  • 8/9/2006, Morrison for Attorney General, $2000
  • 8/9/2006, Sebelius for Governor, $2000

Related:

QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT '96 CASH FLOW TO DEMOCRATS KANSAS LAW SAYS NATIONAL POLITICAL PARTIES CAN GIVE NO MORE THAN $25,000 IN "SOFT MONEY" TO KANSAS EACH YEAR. BUT A WICHITA EAGLE INVESTIGATION SHOWS THAT MORE THAN $300,000 REACHED KANSAS IN 1996 _ MONEY USED FOR COMMERCIALS TO BENEFIT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR THE U.S. SENATE. MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS.

Wichita Eagle, 
September 14, 1997
Dave Ranney, The Wichita Eagle

Dennis Langley, chairman of the Kansas Democratic Party, went to the Democratic National Committee for help. He got it.

More than $300,000 reached the state party in the weeks before the Nov. 5 election - despite a state law that limits such national-party contributions to $25,000 a year.

National-party money appears to have reached the state party's coffers in at least two ways:

The national party donated $5,000 to each of the Democratic parties in 15 Kansas counties. Twelve of these counties sent the state party between $4,250 and $4,750.

The Democratic parties in 17 other states each sent the Kansas party either $14,990 or $15,000 after receiving money from the national party.

Also, 70 Democratic legislative candidates in the state received either $500 or $1,000 contributions from the national party. Five of these candidates say they were told to keep 20 percent of the money and to send 80 percent to the state party.

In each case, the payments appear to at least circumvent state laws designed to limit the national parties' influence in state elections.

All told, almost $315,000 in once-national-party money - more than 121/2 times the $25,000 limit - found its way to the Kansas Democratic Party.


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