Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Right Wing PACs Abandon Bacon and Willard

In the run up to the primary election RSR reported that right-wing political action committees run out of the Kansas Republican Assembly by treasurer Merilee Martin are slush funds designed to evade the Kansas election law limitations on campaign contributions to state school board candidates.

Kansas election laws limit contributions made to state school board candidates from political action committees (PACs), such as those for which Martin serves as treasurer, to a total of $500 in period leading up to the primary election, and $500 prior to the general election -- $1,000 in total.

Despite those limits, right-wing school board candidates Connie Morris, John Bacon, and Ken Willard ended up pocketing contributions of $2,000 each from the checks written by Martin on Dec. 29 – twice what the law allows for the entire election and four times what's allowed during the primary election cycle.

Interestingly, recently released campaign finance reports available at the Kansas Ethics Commission and the FEC reveal that the Free Academic Inquiry and Research and Kansas Republican Victory state and federal PACs, having spent lavishly during the primary have raised and spent almost no money on school board races in the general election cycle.

The FAIR State PAC, for example, spent roughly $2,000 on radio ads for the primary, but reports receiving only one contribution -- $175 from the Kansas Republican Victory Fund State PAC -- in the fall run up to the general election. The FAIR State PAC made no contributions to candidates in the general election cycle.

Likewise, the Kansas Republican Victory Fund State PAC report indicates it has abandoned the right-wing school board candidates. Although it reports $45,000 in receipts during this cycle -- all of it transfers from other PACs and none in individual contributions -- it spent nothing on the school board race, instead directing the bulk of its expenditures, some $16, 117.98, on a mailing to promote candidates in house races and Jim Barnett for Governor and Phill Kline for Attorney General.

John Bacon reports receiving a total of $3,900 -- from just 11 donors -- in contributions during the general election cycle. Ken Willard reports some $6,410 in contributions in the general election cycle. While a number of his contributions come from inside his school board district, many of the large contributions come from outside the district -- mostly from right-wing activists in Johnson County -- and outside the state.

With the Republican Party under pressure in this election, it could be that right-wing activists have had to shift their focus to protecting right-wing incumbents in larger races like Phill Kline's at the expense of the school board races. It could also be that the radical right saw the handwriting on the wall after the primary and decided not to throw good money after bad.


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