Monday, October 20, 2014

Brownback’s pattern of secrecy might validate disputed FBI probe

5/9/2014

Brownback’s pattern of secrecy might validate disputed FBI probe

I read various news articles alleging that associates of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback engaged in unscrupulous tactics, as well as impropriety, with regard to fund-raising and lobbying. I want to give anybody the benefit of the doubt until more substantial proof comes forward, but I feel that the old saying may be correct: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Brownback’s pattern of secrecy might validate disputed FBI probe

I read various news articles alleging that associates of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback engaged in unscrupulous tactics, as well as impropriety, with regard to fund-raising and lobbying. I want to give anybody the benefit of the doubt until more substantial proof comes forward, but I feel that the old saying may be correct: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Brownback leads a gubernatorial administration layered in secrecy. A few years ago, he conducted meetings on public issues of the day, but I noticed a disturbing trend: most, if not all were held in the middle of the week and during business hours when many people were working and unable to attend. Furthermore, the governor’s public policy meeting that I personally attended was in the St. Dominic Catholic Church parish social-hall in Garden City.

I am a cradle-Catholic. Brownback is a converted Catholic. I have no problem with his private religious leanings held in his heart, but I wish he could be more neutral when it comes to governmental town hall meetings. It isn’t as if Garden City has a shortage of meeting-hall space. It is far from a one-horse town. What troubles me is the continual accusations that Brownback is heavily aligned with extremists, including the ultra-conservative and highly secretive Catholic group “Opus Dei,” which doesn’t always confirm or deny membership of an individual.

Even more disturbing is the allegation that Brownback allies have attempted to heavily steer executive policy by improper lobbying and currying of friends, punishing political enemies, and marginalizing even the moderate-wing of Brownback’s own Republican Party.

Even if this is an election-year, I don’t believe for a second that the ongoing FBI investigation of his staffers is a “smear campaign” as Brownback has claimed. If he is truly innocent, the facts will bear him out. If he and his colleagues are guilty, they should be ousted and punished.

Brownback has attempted to cut programs in a foolish attempt to shrink the state into prosperity; yet the homeless rate is getting worse. On top of that, Moody’s has downgraded Kansas’ bond-ratings.

I call upon Brownback to lift the veil of secrecy and conduct his administration with full transparency. Perhaps letting sunshine in will be the best antiseptic to cleanse Kansas of all of the aforementioned evils.

Brownback’s spokeswoman has said there has been nothing “illegal” pertaining to the alleged activities. However, any self-respecting governor should hold himself up to higher scrutiny so that it doesn’t violate the “spirit of the law,” even though it hopscotches-around to technically comply with perceived legality.

Brownback’s denials are eerily reminiscent of Richard Nixon parroting: “I am not a crook.” Well, Gov. Brownback, now is the time for full disclosure to prove it.

James A. Marples,

Longview, Texas

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