Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Who is the Kansas Values Institute?

8/1/2014

During the past several weeks, the Kansas Values Institute, a (c)(4) group based in Topeka, has been sending tens of thousands of dollars of mail on behalf of candidates in the Republican primary. Who is this conservative-sounding group? Dan Watkins, Kansas Values Institute chair, has been a longtime Democrat activist and was the senior adviser for the Obama campaign in Kansas according to an Oct. 21, 2009, Lawrence Journal World story.

As Republicans across the state head to the polls, I believe it is critical they know that members of Obama’s campaign team are spending scores of thousands of dollars to play in our Republican primaries.

During the past several weeks, the Kansas Values Institute, a (c)(4) group based in Topeka, has been sending tens of thousands of dollars of mail on behalf of candidates in the Republican primary. Who is this conservative-sounding group? Dan Watkins, Kansas Values Institute chair, has been a longtime Democrat activist and was the senior adviser for the Obama campaign in Kansas according to an Oct. 21, 2009, Lawrence Journal World story.

As Republicans across the state head to the polls, I believe it is critical they know that members of Obama’s campaign team are spending scores of thousands of dollars to play in our Republican primaries.

In a Jan. 14, 2003, article, the Kansas City Star reported Watkins was “the wonder boy of Kansas Democratic politics in the 1970s.” Over the years, Watkins and his law firm have given thousands of dollars to Democrat candidates and action groups. In 2009, Watkins, a Lawrence attorney, was in consideration as Obama’s pick for U.S. Attorney for Kansas.

Although the Kansas Values Institute is a (c)(4), so their expenditures are not public, they have spent thousands of dollars in independent expenditures on behalf of Republican primary candidates across Kansas. One of their mailings lists several Republican officeholders and states they have earned an “100% Kansas Values rating.” This mailing prompted the following Facebook post from Ron Estes, Kansas state treasurer:

“It has come to my attention that a group calling itself the Kansas Values Institute has used my name in mailers that support one primary opponent over another. I was never contacted by this group about their endorsement and I disapprove of my name being used, without my knowledge, in political tactics to garner support for one Republican primary opponent over another.”

Helen VanEtten,

Republican National

Committeewoman,

Topeka

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