This isn't the only bad news Brownback's been hit with:Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday dismissed as a smear campaign reports of an FBI investigation into the activities of his former chief of staff.
“I’m not seeing the allegations of criminal activity,” Brownback told The Wichita Eagle in his first public comments on the topic. “I’m seeing a lot of efforts to try to smear people.”
A report that the FBI was examining activities linked to David Kensinger, the governor’s former chief of staff and current chairman of his political organization, first appeared April 26 on the Topeka Capital-Journal’s website.
The Eagle and The Star have since spoken to three lobbyists and a former state official who said they were interviewed by federal investigators as early as 2012 and as recently as a month ago. They asked not to be identified.
The sources said they were interviewed about whether Kensinger and others have been involved in “pay-to-play” influence, in which political promises are made in exchange for money.
The governor specifically addressed a portion of the initial report that scrutinized former staffers who now represent KanCare providers as lobbyists. - Kansas City Star, 5/5/14
Yeah, ok. If it's all Obama's fault, I dare Brownback to explain this:Plummeting revenues, underfunded pensions and millions in court-ordered school spending led Moody's Investors Service yesterday to cut the state's credit rating by a notch.
The ratings agency slightly lowered the state's credit rating because of mounting financial pressure on the Kansas state budget, partly from massive income tax cuts that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law in 2012 and 2013.
Moody's dropped the state from its second-highest rating of Aa1 to its third-highest rating of Aa2. Thirteen other states share the same rating as Kansas. Now 29 states have higher ratings. The last state that Moody's downgraded was Illinois in June.
The rating cut could lead to higher interest rates on state borrowing, but leading lawmakers said yesterday they didn't believe that would happen.
Some observers feared the downgrade heralds dire financial times after the massive income tax reductions.
"A well-respected and informed entity that looks at whether government operations are sound has just given us a lower grade," said Bernie Koch, executive director of the Kansas Economic Progress Council, a group made up of chambers of commerce and businesses across the state. "That should be of great concern."
The dip in the state's credit rating comes in the wake of sharply dropping revenue figures released Wednesday. Brownback and other state leaders blamed those numbers on economic policies of the Obama administration. - Columbia Daily Tribune, 5/2/14
The Moody's downgrade is bad for Brownback but he knows the FBI probe is what could cost him a second term:The statement came after the April revenue report showed that Kansas' checking account was $92 million short of what state bean counters thought tax collections would fetch for the month. Looking further out, Kansas has $480 million less at this point during the current year than the same time period a year ago.
If we took Brownback at his word that Obama's tax policies were throttling Kansas, then we figured that the same effect must imperil Missouri's finances, too.
Except it's not.
Missouri's revenue numbers came in on Friday. Revenues in the Show-Me State increased over last year's pace, by half of 1 percent. It's not a big increase, but it's still better than missing the boat by $92 million. - Pitch, 5/2/14
We have a real shot here to take this race. If you want to get involved and donate to Paul Davis' (D. KS) campaign, you can do so here:Yet it is the role of Mr. Kensinger, who was an aide to Mr. Brownback when he served in the United States Senate, that captures just how the governor and his allies have moved to dominate Kansas politics.
Mr. Kensinger, whose Topeka office has a splendid view of the Capitol dome, was the architect of Mr. Brownback’s 2010 election and the 2012 primary purge of the moderate Republican legislators. In addition to his lobbying, he remains the governor’s top political adviser and also heads a pro-Brownback group, Road Map Solutions, that is technically separate from the re-election campaign and has run ads on Mr. Brownback’s behalf.
Ms. Hawley said Mr. Brownback was comfortable with all of Mr. Kensinger’s activities. “Those are completely separate functions and all completely legitimate functions for Mr. Kensinger to be involved in,” she said. But the investigation has become a distraction for Mr. Brownback, whose sweeping agenda on taxes and spending had already made him a polarizing figure in the state.
The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle ran a joint article in their Sunday issues with additional details about the inquiry and the governor finally spoke out on Monday, telling The Eagle that he saw a smear campaign, not genuine “allegations of criminal activity.”
The timing of the revelations has also been inopportune for Mr. Brownback, who is facing an election challenge from State Representative Paul Davis, the minority leader: just a few days after the initial article last week about the F.B.I. investigation, Moody’s downgraded Kansas’s bond rating.
The combination of setbacks for Mr. Brownback, the longtime Star political columnist Steve Kraske wrote, “raise new doubts about his ability to win a second term in a state that’s as red as any in the nation.” - New York Times, 5/6/14