The Kansas Meadowlark

Dec 10, 2007


"Wichita Voters for Truth" Political Action Committee Ignores Reporting Requirements.
Can any Kansas PAC now use this reporting scam?


A group of political activists in Wichita created a PAC and mailed a negative hit-piece against a State Rep candidate.  The PAC closed it postal box without a forwarding address, but never filed a campaign contribution report in Jan 2007.  

If the Kansas Ethics Commission refuses to take action against this group of political activists, does everyone gets to use this scam and not file their January 2009 contribution reports by simply not leaving a forwarding mailing address?


The Kansas Ethics Commission's list of PACs and Contribution reports  shows this curious "Terminated" entry on Jan. 17, 2007:


The Statement of Organization  shows one person, Bruce A McKinney,  is the Chair and Treasurer of this PAC.

The address given above is the address of Mail Drop Plus, which provides a re-mailing service:

Mail Drop Plus is a facility that allows you to use their street mailing address to collect mail in your name or company name without having to rent an office or employ staff. You receive a street mailing address and your mail can be forwarded to you anywhere in the world.

The address of Mail Drop Plus is 1133 S Rock Rd Ste 3, Wichita, KS 67207-3357 and their phone was 316-683-7008.  This phone has been disconnected, and according to the "Just the Facts" article in the Oct 25, 2007 Wichita Eagle, the Kansas Department of Revenue is trying to collect back taxes:

In Sedgwick County District Court, the Kansas Department of Revenue has filed the following tax warrants:
Mail Drop Plus, 1133 S. Rock, suite 3 ...  for $2,497. Filed 10/11.

The phone number given above, 316-992-6115, was McKinney's contact number for the Wichita Pride Celebration, according to this web page posting on June 6, 2006.

The one Receipts and Expenditures report filed by this group showed a modest amount of money raised after the PAC was formed on Sept 27, 2006 until the end of the reporting period on Oct 26, 2006: 

This report only showed four contributors to the Wichita Voters for Truth PAC:

There are at least two technical problems with this report that were never challenged by the Ethics Commission.  Why are no dates given for the contributions?  What kind of contribution was made by Colleen Kelly Johnston?  There is no appropriate box checked.

Carol Williams, Executive Director of the Kansas Ethics Commission, was asked why no termination report was available for this PAC, and how the PAC could terminate without explaining what they did with their money.  This was Ms. Williams' response:

From: Carol Williams
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007

Subject: RE: Wichita Voters for Truth Termination Report

When a PAC terminates, they do not have to spend their residual funds down to zero like a candidate has to. Therefore, we will not know what they did with their funds.  There are no restrictions on the use of PAC funds like there are for candidate funds.

Frankly, we administratively terminated the PAC in late January because all certified mailings were returned to us with a notation from the postmaster that there was no forwarding address on file for either the chairman or treasurer. 

Was the notation about no forwarding address from a U.S. Post Office "Postmaster" or the owner of the now defunct Mail Drop Plus?

One could make the case that there is "no harm, no foul" with a PAC collecting money and then terminating without spending it.  But what about the mailing sent by this PAC in State Rep District 86?   This mailing below was received by at least some voters in State Rep District 86 on Nov 1, 2006, but was never reported as part of a contribution report by this PAC:

The back side of the mailing said::

"Jan Beemer claims she is Pro-Life"
"Why does she put this mom's life at risk?"

The picture on the back side is like the front side shown above, but with the pregnant woman's belly showing, along with this return address and statement of payment:

Paid for by Wichita Voters for Truth
B.A. McKinney, Treasurer
1133 South Rock Road #3-211
Wichita, KS 67207

The Ethics Commission tried to contact this PAC at its defunct Mail Drop Plus address, but apparently did not try to contact Chair/Treasurer B.A. McKinney at the address he gave when he made a contribution.  This contribution address is the same address given by the Wichita Eagle in a Jan 22, 1998 article when McKinney ran for Wichita City Council, District 1.  Apparently, the Ethics Commission did not try to contact Mr. McKinney at this address, which he has had for a number of years.  But even without a notice from the Ethics Commission, Mr. McKinney is responsible for filing the PAC report with the Ethics Commission if money was spent for political purposes. 

All of the contributors to this PAC are political activists in Wichita and they all should be knowledgeable about campaign reporting requirements.  While technically Mr. McKinney is responsible for the missing contribution report, a "follow the money" approach indicates that John and Cheryl Carmichael had the largest financial interests in this PAC and possibly may have been the "brains" and money behind this project:

 

All of the Contributors to Wichita Voters for Truth are Liberal, Democratic Activists 

Contributor Known Political Activities /  Comments
Bruce A McKinney

After a four-year absence, Wichita's Gay Pride Parade and Festival are back this Sunday.  ...

"Frankly, it was the vote against gay marriage that brought it back," said Bruce McKinney, who helped organize the first Wichita gay pride events in 1990.

"We had gotten a little apathetic. There wasn't a lot of politics in 2000, and the parade just kind of imploded.

"But that vote showed us we needed to do the parade again."

  • Wichita Eagle, June 22, 2007, "Parade and Festival Part of Gay Pride Event"

"Out & About" is the theme for this year's Pride Parade and Festival, an event sponsored by the Wichita Gay Pride Committee.   ...

All eight chapters of the Kansas Equality Coalition will be represented in this year's parade.

"We have a much wider base than last year," said Bruce McKinney, another event organizer.

John Carmichael
  • Gave $2150 to Judith Loganbill for State Rep 86 (2004-2006),  $600 to Terry McLachlan for State Rep 96, $500 to Raj Goyle for State Rep 87,  $350 to Nile Dillmore for State Rep 92, $250 to Judy Armstrong for State Rep 81,  $100 to Dale Swenson for State Rep 97, and $100 to Kenneth Trimmer for State Rep 78.
  • John and Cheryl jointly gave $250 to Sarah Johnston for State Rep  75, and  $150 to Marcey Gregory for State Rep 93.
  • John and Cheryl jointly contributed $3750 to Tiller's ProKanDo PAC in the 2005-2006 election cycle.  
  • John was an underwriter for "Choice in Kansas: An Event for ProKanDo PAC" in June 2004
Cheryl Carmichael


Cheryl and John Carmichael

  • Cheryl Carmichael is the treasurer for the Sedgwick County Democratic Party.
  • Gave $1000 to Judith Loganbill for State Rep 86, $500 to Raj Goyle for State Rep 87, $500 to Terry McLachlan for State Rep 96, $100 to Delia Garcia for State Rep 103, and $100 to Judy Armstrong for State Rep 81, and $100 to Ruth Sale for State Rep 97 -- all Democrats.
  • Gave $3200 to Paul Morrison for Attorney General, and $1050 to Kathleen Sebelius.
  • John and Cheryl Carmichael contributed $3750 to Tiller's ProKanDo PAC in the 2005-2006 election cycle.  
  • Cheryl Carmichael, along with Julie Burkhart, ProKanDo Executive Director, and Jalen O'Neil Lowry, Topeka, are all directors of a Kansas non-profit:  "Legal Assistance for Privacy Protection."  The purpose of this non-profit is not known, nor has any evidence been found of its fund raising activities or expenditures. 
  • Cheryl was an underwriter for "Choice in Kansas: An Event for ProKanDo PAC" in June 2004
Colleen Kelly Johnston

While there is no evidence that State Rep Judith Loganbill had anything to do with the Wichita Voters for Truth PAC, there are some "connections" between this PAC and Loganbill's campaign through members of the Kansas Equality Coalition.  Perhaps it is only coincidental that the current Chair and Vice-Chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition were involved: 

Thomas Witt

  • Chair, Kansas Equality Coalition of Wichita and Sedgwick County.  

  • Paid over $8000 in "campaign consulting" fees by Loganbill campaign: 

Bruce McKinney

  • Vice-Chair, Kansas Equality Coalition of Wichita and Sedgwick County.

  • Chair/Treasurer of Wichita Voters for Truth PAC, a group sending out negative campaign pieces to benefit Judith Loganbill

I'd be interested to ask Mr. McKinney if Mr. Witt had anything to do with setting up this PAC.  I'd be interested in asking both Mr. Witt and Mr. McKinney how the contributors to this PAC learned of its existence.

The content and tone of the hit piece against Beemer was not surprising given these contributors to Loganbill:

  • George Tiller, 8/21/2006, $500

  • ProKanDo PAC, 9/28/2006, $500, 7/7/2006, $500

Other contributors to Loganbill's campaign included this list of participants in the Kansas Democratic Party money scheme used in 2006-2006, which indicates this likely was a district targeted by the Democrats:

  • KNEA, 9/20/2006, $500, 6/28/2006, $250

  • Kathleen Sebelius' Blue Stem Fund, 8/23/2006, $500

  • Greater Kansas City, MO Chamber of Commerce PAC, 9/21/2006, $500, 12/7/2005, $500

  • United Transportation Union PAC, Cleveland, OH, 10/2/2006, $400

  • Heavy Constructors PAC, KCMO, 10/11/2006, $250, 7/6/2006, $150

  • Carpenters District Council of Kansas City, MO, $500, 7/15/2006

Apparently, Loganbill used the "Kansas Coordinated Campaign" to let the Kansas Democratic Party manage many aspects of her campaign:

  • $12,500 to Kansas Democratic Party for "Campaign Services", $5000 on 10/8/2006, $5000 on 10/12/2006, $2500 on 10/24/2006.

Bottom LineIf the Kansas Ethics Commission refuses to take action against this group of political activists for not filing a campaign contribution report, then everyone should get to use this scam and not file their January 2009 contribution reports by simply not leaving a forwarding mailing address.


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