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Kansas Secretary Of State's Airplane Use Called Into Question

Accused Of Using King Air 350 For Personal Or Republican Party Business

Use of a state-owned King Air 350 by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is being called into question following media reports.

An examination of the planes logs by the Associated Press found that Kobach had used the plane several times between January 1 2015 and March 24, 2016 for trips that the AP said appeared to have no official purpose. In others, Kobach allegedly scheduled trips for official business to coincide with Republican Party functions. His family sometimes flew with him, the report indicates.

State law allows the governor to use the plane for personal or political travel as long as the state is reimbursed for that use. However, no other state agencies are mentioned in that law. The State Highway Patrol administers the use of the airplane, and says it has no specific guidelines and leaves use of the aircraft up to each agency when it is available.

Kobach said that he is using the plane far less than his predecessor ... Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh. Kobach says he's flown about 4,350 miles, compared to 8,700 miles for Thornburgh.

Kobach said that he plans to visit election officials in all 105 Kansas counties to discuss implementation of voter ID and proof of citizenship laws. He calls the accusation that face-to-face meetings with election officials have no benefit to Kansas residents "absurd."

Kobach calls his efforts to cut spending in his office "extraordinary". But state Representative Jim Ward (D-Wichita) said that the voter ID policies being discussed by Kobach with election officials would "suppress votes" in the state. The Democratic Leader of the Kansas Senate said Kobach should pay the state back for trips that included Republican Party events. He said claiming that those events coincided with official state business was "probably just a ruse."

(Image from file. Not Kansas state airplane)

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