"I don't have my hand in the cookie jar!"

Kris Kobach is very, very worried about voter fraud.

Kobach, a law professor who formerly worked in John Ashcroft’s Department of Justice, authored Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration bill and during his successful campaign to become the Secretary of State in Kansas, he crusaded heavily against voter fraud. His campaign website proclaimed

Voter fraud is a very real problem in Kansas.  Election crimes have been documented across the state . . .

And that is only half the problem.  The manipulation of election contests by unscrupulous attorneys has resulted in the stealing of close elections.

Respected University of Kansas political science professor Burt Loomis sees Kobach as a dangerous, “new, improved version” of the Kansas anti-abortion crusader and former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline, except Kobach’s hobby horse is immigration. Last November, Kobach rode that horse to victory.

Enter the Federal Elections Commission.

In their meeting on Thursday, the FEC took action with regard to an audit of the Kansas Republican Party:

AUDITS

Draft Final Audit Report on the Kansas Republican Party (KRP). On March 3, the Commission approved audit findings on the KRP, covering activity between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. The KRP is a state party committee. The Commission found (1) a misstatement of receipts, disbursements and cash-on-hand, and (2) that KRP received a contribution from an apparently prohibited source and (3) that KRP may have improperly made payments from its non-federal accounts. KRP has amended its reports to address these issues.

Gosh, that sounds bad. But for Kobach, it gets worse. You see, he was the head of the KRP during the time in question. From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

FEC investigators examined Kansas GOP financial records for more than a year to determine extent of mismanagement by Kobach and his staff involved in party business affairs during 2007 and 2008.

The commission accepted Thursday audits indicating former top officials of the state Republican Party misstated contributions and expenditures, accepted  $52,000 in illegal contributions from businesses and failed to appropriately disclose $104,000 in expenditures on behalf of Kansas delegates at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

At one point, the state GOP failed to pay state and federal taxes.

Ooops.

The FEC’s penalty is yet to be determined, but that will likely be a fine of some kind. I’m more curious about what kind of sanction Kobach personally might face.

Last July, Kobach wrote in the Wichita Eagle, “Voter fraud is not usually motivated by money; it is motivated by the corrupt desire for power.”

From the audit done by the FEC, it sure looks like Kobach knew what he was talking about. But Kobach went on:

One reason that it’s so easy to commit election fraud in Kansas is that the crime is rarely punished. I am aware of only one case that has been prosecuted by the state since 2000. The time has come to stop voter fraud in Kansas.

I couldn’t agree more.

Having a secretary of state who has not been involved in campaign finance irregularities might be a good start. Gotta watch out for those “unscrupulous attorneys” who want to manipulate elections, you know.

(photo h/t: chris.corwin)