It’s not exactly news to report that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach hasn’t been doing his job. Last month, when the coalition KanVote obtained a copy of his professional calendar, they indeed proved that he spent a substantial amount of his time talking to out-of-state media, skipping work, and generally lying about his engagements.
But even what Kobach considers to be legitimate “work” is questionable, with much of his time spent entertaining the projects of his friends on the far-right.
The most telling example of his partisan nepotism would be several meetings he held with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Kobach and ALEC are not explicitly affiliated, but their goals are almost identical: both ALEC and Kobach contributed to the passage of Arizona’s contentious anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. To briefly digress, ALEC’s interest in such legislation stems from the fact that enacting harsh immigration measures increases the population of undocumented prisoners—ensuring revenues for ALEC’s constituents in the for-profit prison industry.
Kobach’s nativism partners well with ALEC’s brutally acquisitive nature. In addition to their mutual interest in jailing immigrants, both also endorse restrictive Voter ID laws. Claiming that these measures keep noncitizens from voting, in reality these laws would prevent the elderly, students, and people of color from participating in elections. Moreover, some have speculated that Voter ID is actually about maintaining conservative leadership—another mutual interest for ALEC and Kobach.
But apparently, Kobach seems to think that the Secretary of State should play host to these extremely partisan entities. In addition to ALEC, Kobach also met with one ‘Eric Rucker’ on numerous occasions; though the subject of their meetings is not clear, this appears to be the same Rucker who was tried and received “informal admonition” for some role in enrolling inaccurate evidence or documents in a trial targeting abortion doctor George Tiller.
So when Kobach rebuts that he does his job, one ought to wonder what job that is; the people of Kansas did not elect him to propel his personal political interests.