Rep. Davis says Secretary of State Kobach should focus on his job, not ‘personal crusade’ against illegal immigration

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence says Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, needs to focus on his job and not his “personal crusade” against illegal immigration.

But Kobach said Davis’ criticism didn’t make sense and Kobach reiterated that he works full time on his job as secretary of state and does outside legal work on his own time.

Davis said the recent fine levied by state ethics officials against Kobach’s campaign for campaign finance reporting violations showed that Kobach “is spending too much time traveling around the country on a personal crusade and not enough time doing the job the people of Kansas elected — and pay — him to do.”

Last week, Kobach’s campaign was fined the maximum amount of $5,000 for failing to report accurately nearly $80,000 in contributions and expenses in Kobach’s successful 2010 campaign for secretary of state.

During the last legislative session, Davis had proposed a measure that would require statewide elected officials to refrain from outside employment during their time of public service.

The measure was aimed at Kobach, who as an attorney has worked nationally to assist cities and states in drafting illegal immigration laws. Kobach has co-authored the most controversial of those laws in the nation, including those in Arizona and Alabama, and is in frequent legal battles over the issue of illegal immigration.

“I’m once again calling on Secretary Kobach to end his private legal practice, which is obviously taking up so much time that he can’t even follow the laws that his own office helps to enforce, and become a full time secretary of state,” Davis said.

But Kobach said, “Mr. Davis’ complaint makes no sense. The reports filed by my campaign treasurer in 2009 and 2010 bear absolutely no relationship to how I have spent my spare time since being inaugurated in 2011.”

Kobach has often said that he works in his spare time on immigration issues in other states and that work does not detract from his duties as secretary of state.

His office said Monday that Kobach spends 40 hours to 50 hours per week on secretary of state business and five hours to 15 hours per week of his spare time on legal work “helping cities and states to stop illegal immigration.”

Kobach’s salary as secretary of state is $86,003 per year.

In a Statement of Substantial Interest filed with the secretary of state’s office in April, Kobach listed 10 clients who paid fees or commissions to him of at least $2,000 in the preceding calendar year. Kansas law doesn’t require a state official to list an exact amount of compensation.

According to the Statement of Substantial Interest, Kobach’s clients included the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based group that fights illegal immigration. He also did work for the city of Fremont, Neb., and Maricopa County, Ariz., on immigration issues. His other clients included Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, of Greenville, S.C.; CMP Susquenhanna Corp., of Atlanta, Ga.; Snell & Wilmer of Phoenix; The Federalist Society, of Washington, D.C.; Digital Ally Inc. of Overland Park; The Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund of St. Louis; and the 7th District Missouri Republican Assembly of Springfield, Mo.

In June 2010, when Kobach was a candidate for secretary of state, he had seven clients listed on his Statement of Substantial Interest form.

By Scott Rothschild

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