Kris Kobach

Rolling Stone Covers Voter Suppression Rock Star Kris Kobach

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a right-wing activist who has championed anti-immigrant and voter suppression efforts around the country and has helped to insert right-wing rhetoric into recent Republican platforms.  As Miranda reported this month, Kobach is pushing his fellow Republicans to adopt legislation modeled after the disastrously restrictive voting law he helped push through in Kansas. The September 8 issue of Rolling Stone looks at one of Kobach’s ventures in “The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters.”

The Rolling Stone story by journalist and author Greg Palast examines Crosscheck, a Kobach project that Palast calls “the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud.” The Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program is ostensibly designed to target a virtually nonexistent form of voter fraud. In reality, it helps promote the Right Wing's bogus voter fraud narrative, which in turn provides justification for otherwise unjustifiable laws that restrict voting. In the worst case scenario, Crosscheck could lead to thousands of people, predominantly people of color and young voters, being wrongly purged from voting rolls in advance of November’s election.

Crosscheck compares voter registration lists in different states to identify individuals who are registered in more than one place. Theoretically, it requires matches on a voter's first, middle and last name, along with birth date and the final four digits of a social security number, but in reality, it doesn’t always work as advertised. As we noted a couple years ago, Crosscheck’s data was so unreliable that Florida and Oregon dropped out of the program

Palast says he was able to get his hands on Crosscheck lists from Virginia, Georgia and Washington state, and found that the lists often lacked a middle-name match and misidentified fathers and sons as the same voter.  He cites database expert Mark Swedlund, who criticizes Crosscheck’s “childish methodology.” He also notes that U.S. Census data indicates that people of color are statistically more likely to have last names in common, leading to an “astonishing” inherent bias in the results, with “one in six Hispanics, one in seven Asian-Americans, and one in nine African Americans in Crosscheck states landing on the list.” And Donald Trump complains the election is rigged against him!

“God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name if Joseph or Jose,” says Swedlund. “You’re probably suspected of voting in 27 states.”

It is up to each state to decide how it uses the data from Crosscheck; some send the lists to county officials who don’t have the resources to verify their accuracy. Rolling Stone reports that Crosscheck “has flagged close to half a million voters” in Ohio, and that 41,000 people were knocked off voting rolls in Virginia when it was under Republican control.

Even if state and local officials don’t end up using the data to initiate major purges, Crosscheck’s inflated numbers can be used to buttress false right-wing claims that voter fraud is a big problem. That mythology has been particularly damaging in the aftermath of rulings from conservative justices on the Supreme Court dismantling key Voting Rights Act protections, which allowed Republican officials in many states to pass laws aimed at making it harder for some people, particularly people of color and young people, to register and vote. And, says Palast, gutting the Voting Rights Act also meant dropping the requirement for covered states to keep racial data on voters, making it harder to document discriminatory practices.

Kris Kobach Wants His Disastrous Voting Restrictions Adopted In Every State

Breitbart’s Ken Klukowski has a dispatch from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s latest effort to spread his innovative voter suppression policies around the country. Over the weekend, Kobach spoke at an American Civil Rights Union event at the Republican National Lawyers Association convention in Colorado, where he urged his fellow election officials and lawyers to adopt legislation modeled after a law he helped push through in Kansas.

Kansas’ voter ID law is one of the harshest in the country, requiring that those registering to vote produce “proof of citizenship” such as a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers. Since the law went into effect in 2013, it has been caught up in legal battles as it wreaks havoc with the state’s elections.

In May, a federal judge ruled that Kansas couldn’t require people registering using a federal form to produce the burdensome extra documentation. In response, Kobach tried to set up a two-tier voting system in which people who registered using the federal form could only vote in federal elections and would be barred from casting ballots in state and local races. Then, in a last-minute decision, another federal judge ruled that Kobach couldn’t throw out the primary votes of more than 17,000 people who hadn’t produced the extra documentation, including many who had registered using the federal form.

As Klukowski reports, this is precisely the model that Kobach hopes will be adopted in every single state:

The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) held a national election law seminar in Denver on Friday and Saturday, and the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) convened an invitation-only event alongside RNLA’s seminar, featuring several secretaries of state, chief election officers, Republican former and current federal elections officials, and constitutional lawyers, to explore strategies to protect against voter fraud. Kobach spoke at both events.

During the ACRU event, Kobach touted his SAFE Act, which was designed to require proof of U.S. citizenship and proof of identity in a manner fulfilling the requirements the U.S. Supreme Court has held are consistent with the Constitution. It is model legislation for states to adopt as part of their election laws, rather than a federal law, since the Constitution entrusts the sovereign states with primary responsibility for holding elections.

Speaking exclusively with Breitbart News in Denver at the ACRU event, Kobach said, “Every time an alien votes, it cancels out the vote of a United States citizen. This is a nationwide problem.”

“Every state needs to address it and take steps to secure the most fundamental privilege of citizenship—the vote,” he added.

Kobach, who also specializes in draconian anti-immigrant legislation, acts like something of a one-man American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the group that helps spread conservative and corporate-friendly laws to state legislatures. In fact, Kobach responded on his weekly radio program last month to a critic who called him an “ALEC pawn,” saying that he is the one who is trying to get ALEC to spread voter restrictions across the country.

“I’ve been trying to get the American Legislative Exchange Council interested in photo ID and proof of citizenship,” he said. “They never called me and said, ‘Hey, Kobach, would you do this?’ I’ve been trying to get them off their backside and get them encouraging other states to do it.”

Kris Kobach Is Tired Of Being 'Lectured About Our Constitution' By 'Aliens'

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and informal immigration adviser to Donald Trump, responded this weekend to the controversy over Trump’s feud with Gold Star parents Ghazala and Khizr Khan and to the presence of undocumented immigrants at the Democratic National Convention by saying, “It is maddening to be lectured about our Constitution and about what American law should be by aliens in the United States.”

On his weekly radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO, Kobach took a call from a listener named Sarah who claimed that Khan, in his speech to the Democratic convention, lied about Trump’s call to ban Muslims from immigrating to the U.S., saying that Trump just “wanted to vet them.” (Trump’s own words show that Khan was correct.)

“Well, it’s amazing how the left tries to distort what he says,” Kobach responded. “But the bottom line is he’s voicing a concern that many Americans have that we are letting into the United States radicalized Muslims from high-risk areas.”

The caller said that those radicalized Muslims are “already here, some of them,” citing the murder of a priest in France.

“You know,” Sarah continued, in an apparent reference to Khan’s DNC speech, “I am tired also of foreigners coming in our country and telling us what our Constitution says. We have a Constitution that empowers us and states we must maintain our borders in a sensible, enlightened, civilized way. We are not allowed to let anyone in and it’s against the law to do that because this is against the sanity and order of society. Any sane person of average intelligence should be able to figure this out, but our Constitution, they should learn the Constitution.”

“It is maddening to be lectured about our Constitution and about what American law should be by aliens in the United States,” Kobach agreed.

“My ancestors came here in the 1600s, I think I know a little bit about what it’s all about here,” Sarah interjected.

“Well, you know,” Kobach said, “I think the worst is what happens regularly in Topeka, where illegal aliens come in and lecture the legislators on why they need to continue getting in-state tuition. And we saw it at the DNC, when they bring illegal aliens on the stage. It’s just unbelievable.”

Anti-Immigration Activist Kris Kobach Gets Trump's Wall Into Republican Platform

CNN noted this morning that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a prominent anti-immigrant activist, had successfully lobbied a Republican platform committee to include in the draft platform language explicitly endorsing Donald Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border. “The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic," Kobach's language states.

The language does not say who will pay for the wall, but the Washington Examiner quoted Kobach saying that he has consulted with Trump on how a border wall would be financed. That’s putting it mildly. As Miranda reported in April, Kobach said that hehelped write Trump’s plan to force Mexico to pay for the wall by threatening to seize money that people in the U.S. send to family and friends in Mexico. Kobach was also involved in the legal challenge to President Obama’s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); previously he helped write Arizona’s infamous “show me your papers law,” SB 1070.

Kobach was also on the 2012 platform committee. Here’s what we wrote about him then:

Kris Kobach wants to be your president one day; until now, he has gotten as far as Kansas Secretary of State.  He may be best known as the brains behind Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, and he successfully pushed for anti-immigrant language in the platform, including a call for the federal government to deny funds to universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition – a plank that puts Kobach and the platform at odds with Kansas law.  Immigration is not Kobach’s only issue. He is an energizing force behind the Republican Party’s massive push for voter suppression laws around the country, and he led the effort to get language inserted into the platform calling on states to pass laws requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration.  He also pushed language aimed at the supposed threat to the Constitution and laws of the US from “Sharia law”; getting this language into the platform puts the GOP in position of endorsing a ludicrous far-right conspiracy theory.  Kobach hopes that will give activists a tool for pressuring more states to pass their own anti-Sharia laws.  In the platform committee, he backed Perkins’ efforts to maintain the strongest language against marriage equality.  Even an amendment to the marriage section saying that everyone should be treated “equally under the law” as long as they are not hurting anyone else, was shot down by Kobach.  Kobach also claims he won support for a provision to oppose any effort to limit how many bullets can go into a gun’s magazine.

For what it's worth, no less than Dan Stein, the head of the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform, whose legal arm Kobach is affiliated with, has said that Trump doesn't intend to build a physical wall at all, saying that the wall is merely a rhetorical "surrogate" for other border control measures.

 

Supreme Court Immigration Decision A Win For Anti-Immigrant Group Working Behind The Scenes

Earlier today, a deadlocked Supreme Court left in place a lower court decision blocking an Obama administration effort to grant temporary deportation relief to millions of immigrants. One group cheering on the decision was the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, which declared, “IRLI will continue to work with patriotic state governments and grassroots activists to beat back the Administration’s drive to dissolve national sovereignty, the rule of law, and economic justice for America’s most vulnerable citizens.”

In fact, IRLI, which is a key player in a network of immigration groups that grew out of the vision of a single white nationalist activist, has done much to shape the legal battle that led to today’s decision. The group noted today that it had “advised the Texas Attorney-General’s office on key facets of the case” that the state had brought against the federal government “and filed a total of six friend-of-the-court briefs.” In fact, documents show that IRLI had an influential role in shaping the direction of Texas’ challenge, as well as the legal movement that it sprang out of.

The Center for New Community wrote in an April report:

Leaders within an organized movement of anti-immigrant activists have not only publicly advocated against President Obama’s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), they have also been closely involved in crafting and mobilizing a legal challenge to the initiative ever since it was announced. This is not a new strategy for the antiimmigrant movement, which has long used the legal system to fight for its twin goals of dramatically reduced immigration levels and policies that support attrition through enforcement or outright deportation—all in support of the long-term goal of preserving the United States’ white majority.

CNC outlined the work that IRLI did to advise Texas on the case through Kris Kobach, a former IRLI staffer who is now the secretary of state of Kansas but who remains “of counsel” to the organization:

Neither Kobach nor IRLI are formally representing any of the plaintiff states in the case, but evidence, as described below, suggests Kobach has been involved since the case’s beginning.

On November 22, 2014, two days after President Obama’s announcement, The Washington Post reported that Kobach has already begun drafting a lawsuit. The Post’s Eli Saslow reported that Kobach had been speaking at a community forum in Tonganoxie, Kansas, the night of the President’s announcement. Saslow described the situation as “the most pivotal moment of [Kobach’s] career.”

As news of the president’s announcement circulated, Kobach discussed it with the Tonganoxie group. “He tells the group he has already begun drafting a suit as the lead attorney, with plans to file it in early December,” The Post reported. “Texas is interested in being a plaintiff. So are a few other states.” The Post added that Kobach’s lawsuit had “40 or 50 pages already written.”

The morning of December 3, Kobach appeared on Wichita radio host Joseph Ashby’s program. During the interview, Kobach reiterated his involvement in the lawsuit. “I am playing a role,” Kobach said. “I don't know if I'm taking the lead or not, but as many people know, instead of spending my spare time golfing I do litigate.” Kobach added, “litigation is beginning and I am involved in assembling plaintiffs and attorneys around the country to get this done.”

Hours later, The Texas Attorney General’s Office announced the legal action.

We wrote about the record of IRLI and FAIR in a recent report:

FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has helped craft anti-immigrant legislation around the country, including Arizona’s infamous “self-deportation” measure SB 1070 and efforts to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship . In 2010, Think Progress wrote that “IRLI has been behind most, if not every, local legislative immigration crackdown over the past few years.” Much of this work wasdriven by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach, who joined the group in 2003. Kobach is now secretary of state of Kansas, but remains “of counsel” to IRLI. He served as an advisor to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, when Romney espoused the doctrine of “self-deportation.”

FAIR’s current president is Dan Stein, who has worked for the organization since 1982. Stein has framed the immigration debate in racial terms, calling the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which eliminated a quota system that favored Northern Europeans and shut out Asians and Africans, an attempt to “retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance“ in the country. He has warned that President Obama’s immigration policies will cause the U.S. to “ fall apart” like Iraq and once speculated that the U.S. has seen so few terrorist attacks under President Obama because terrorists see him as an “ally” and “don’t want to embarrass” him.

While Stein has hinted at immigration restriction as a tool of white nationalism, FAIR has openly associated with people who explicitly advocate for the U.S. to remain a white-dominated nation.

A short-lived television program produced by FAIR in 1996 featured interviews with well-known white nationalists Sam Francis, Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, and a common area of discussion was that the immigrant “invasion” would destroy America. Stein, interviewing one guest, wondered, “How can we preserve America if it becomes 50 percent Latin American?” In a 1991 interview for an article on the higher birth rates among Asian and Latino immigrants than among native-born Americans, Stein said, "It's almost like they're getting into competitive breeding. You have to take into account the various fertility rates in designing limits on immigration.” Six years later, he told the Wall Street Journal, “Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they'll all be coming here, because there's no room at the Vatican.”

Over a period of 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s, FAIR took in more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, which SPLC describes as “a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic lines of American whites,” and for several years afterward continued to receive support from individual leaders of the fund.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/15/16

Trump Immigration Adviser: Round Up Immigrants At Protests, Testifying Before Legislatures

Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant crusader who designed Donald Trump’s plan for impounding remittances to force Mexico to pay for a border wall, said on Sunday that he hopes when Trump is president, immigration enforcement officers will be sent to round up undocumented immigrants participating in protests or lobbying legislators.

Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, hosts a weekly radio program on the Kansas City station KCMO. On Sunday’s program, he discussed a recent anti-Trump protest in Albuquerque that turned violent, leading to the arrests of some protesters.

A listener called in to complain that “the law does not apply to illegal aliens,” falsely implying that there had been no consequences for violent anti-Trump protesters. “They’re now getting so bold that, you know, you and I don’t have the right to hold a rally for our people … but they have the right to get off the sidewalk, go in the street, do damage and not get arrested,” the caller said.

Kobach responded that what “really annoys” him is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t just send officers into protests and start demanding people’s papers and sending undocumented participants “back to [their] home country.”

Later in the program, Kobach said that not only should ICE start checking people’s papers at protests, they should also round up and deport undocumented immigrants who show up to lobby state lawmakers on immigration issues. “I don’t think that’s going to happen until Donald Trump is president,” he said:

You know, I think the fact that ICE was absent was also wrong. This is the way that even in the Bush administration, when [inaudible] at a protest, no one would ever arrest them and say, ‘You identified yourself as not lawfully present in the United States, we’re going to go ahead and enforce the law now.’

You know, they showed up in the Kansas legislature, they do this almost every year, when we run a bill, we meaning those who believe in the rule of law, run a bill to stop giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens, illegal aliens will show up and testify. ICE never turns up and says, ‘Okay, you’re breaking the law, time to get out of here.’ You get Democrats applauding them. It’s just unbelievable. At some point, we’ve got to say, ‘Look, we take our laws seriously,’ and I don’t think that’s going to happen until Donald Trump is president.

Note: The audio in both clips in this post is very choppy, which is how it was in the original recording posted by KCMO.

Kobach: Maybe Obama Opposes Proof Of Citizenship Laws Because He's Not A Citizen

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the influential anti-immigration operative who has been involved in both Donald Trump’s border wall policy and the immigration case currently before the Supreme Court, called into question President Obama’s birthplace on his radio program this weekend.

In response to a caller who wondered if the Obama administration’s opposition to restrictive voting laws such as a proof-of-citizenship requirement in Kansas is because the president himself is “not a citizen of the United States,” Kobach said that there are “interesting things” about the question of Obama’s citizenship that “just made you scratch your head.” He added that “maybe” the caller’s theory about the president’s opposition to voting restrictions was correct.

Kobach was speaking on his radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO on Sunday about a column in the Kansas City Star — which Kobach calls the “Kansas City Red Star” — blasting him for his role in enacting restrictive voting laws in Kansas and around the nation, when a listener identified as “Jim from Iowa” called in.

Jim told Kobach he didn’t understand “what the big deal” was about a law championed by Kobach requiring people to present proof of citizenship when registering to vote “because our president, his little grandma said he was born in Africa, he waited two years before he sent out that fake birth certificate, he got a scholarship to a place, a college in California that only gives it to foreigners, so what’s the difference?”

(Just to be clear, Obama’s grandmother did not say he was born in Kenya,his birth certificate is not fake, and he did not get a scholarship meant for foreign students.)

At first, Kobach didn’t address the birther issue, noting instead that Obama is indeed “opposed to Kansas” and “doesn’t like voter ID laws.”

But the caller persisted, saying, “He’s not going to bring up proof of citizenship because he’s not a citizen of the United States, he’s not supposed to be the president, his own grandma said he was born in Africa, what else do you need? And that birth certificate thing was all fake, it took him two years, like I said, to get it sent out. How did he get the scholarship to that college in California that only foreign people get it? How did he get that? How come everybody lets it go?”

“You know, you’re right,” Kobach responded, “and of course that issue’s kind of water under the bridge these days, but there were some interesting things. Like there was that one thing, it just made you scratch your head, there was that one thing that the Harvard Law Journal printed which described Barack Obama as a ‘young student born in Kenya.’ Now, he says that was wrong, and maybe it was wrong, but anyway, maybe you’re right, maybe that’s why he doesn’t talk about proof of citizenship, because he, you know, he would rather not bring up the citizenship issue. Of course, now he’s got nothing to worry about, he’s in office for the remaining year.”

(We don’t know what head-scratching “Harvard Law Journal” article Kobach was referring to, but he could have been getting it mixed up with a promotional flier for one of Obama’s books that mistakenly described him as being born in Kenya, which birthers have made much of.)

When Jim asked if Obama could still “get in trouble” for lying about his birthplace, Kobach responded that “at this point there’s not really any forum in which the facts will be further” examined.

“Well, why didn’t everybody do something about this eight years ago?” Jim demanded.

“Well,” Kobach said, “as you may recall, there was quite a kerfuffle about it back then.”

“Did you notice everybody that was complaining, they shut up like overnight?” Jim said. “I think they were all threatened just like Old Lady Clinton threatens everybody if you don’t do what she wants. I think they’re all threatened, that’s why they all shut up real fast.”

“Well, who knows?” Kobach said. “That whole issue has been a truly strange one, that’s for sure.”

Perhaps they will have to wait until Trump, Kobach’s preferred candidate for president, fulfills his promise to write a book about Obama’s real birthplace.

Kris Kobach, Mastermind Of Anti-Immigrant Policies, Helped Write Trump's Border Wall Plan

Kris Kobach, a former Bush administration attorney who is now the secretary of state of Kansas, helped write Arizona's SB1070, the state's infamous anti-immigrant "show me your papers" law. He helped Alabama craft one of the most disastrous anti-immigrant laws in the U.S. In his home state, Kobach has raised the specter of undocumented immigrants committing voter fraud in an attempt to justify a "proof of citizenship" law that has kept tens of thousands of Kansans from registering to vote. In 2012, he advised Mitt Romney on his infamous "self-deportation" policy. When politicians want help cracking down on undocumented immigrants, and they don't mind going about it in creatively cruel ways, Kobach is their go-to guy.

So it should come as absolutely no surprise that when Donald Trump announced an astonishingly cruel plan to attempt to make Mexico pay for a wall at the southern border by holding hostage the money that Mexican immigrants send home to their family members, it was Kobach who was behind it.

When Kobach endorsed Trump back in February, he offered a version of what became the GOP frontrunner's plan for the wall:

“We have the ability to shut down the flow of remittances to Mexico from illegal aliens working in the United States,” he said. “Mexico will then have to make a choice: Either make a single payment of $5 billion to $10 billion to the United States to pay for the wall, or lose most of the $23 billion in remittances that Mexico receives every year from its nationals working illegally in the United States.”

Now Kobach says that he was in fact the one behind Trump's plan to seize remittances:

In an interview, Kobach said Trump’s focus on remittances — money sent by individuals in the U.S. to friends and family in other countries — is consistent with what he had been advising the campaign. He said he has spoken with the campaign directly, and Trump himself, about immigration.

“Mr. Trump was receptive to that idea and I think he’s an excellent negotiator and he looks for opportunities to put pressure on opposing parties in negotiations and this fits the bill,” Kobach said.

...

The path outlined by Trump is a more detailed version of what Kobach proposed in February when he endorsed the candidate. During an interview Friday, when directed to Trump’s plan on his campaign website, Kobach said he had drafted portions of the document. The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request to elaborate on Kobach’s involvement with formulating Trump’s position on paying for the wall.

“I have been in touch with Mr. Trump directly and his campaign team about this issue,” Kobach said.

Trump's plan, like many ideas originating with Kobach, would not only be unnecessarily cruel but could also be a logistical nightmare and an economic disaster, one that would probably end up increasing the rate of Mexican immigration into the U.S.

EAC Official Who Helped Make Voting Harder Linked To Voter Suppression Architect Kris Kobach

The AP reports today that Brian Newby, the Election Assistance Commission executive director who in February singlehandedly helped Kansas, Georgia and Alabama make it harder to vote using federal voter registration forms, was placed in his job in part thanks to the efforts of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of voter suppression measures throughout the country.

In 2011, Kobach helped push through a law in his state requiring people registering to vote to present one of a narrow list of “proof of citizenship” documents, which led tens of thousands of Kansans to have their voter registrations suspended when they tried to sign up to vote in last year’s elections. Kobach was locked in a years-long battled with the EAC over federal voter registration forms, which did not require voters to present the same proof of citizenship, even attempting to create a two-tiered voting system in which people who registered with the federal form were barred from voting in state and local elections. Then, in February, Newby decided that people registering with the federal voter registration form in Kansas, Georgia and Alabama would have to present extra proof of citizenship, handing a major win to Kobach.

So, it is not entirely surprising to learn that it is Kobach who helped Newby to get his job at the EAC:

An email provided to The Associated Press through open records requests offers a glimpse into the mindset of Brian Newby, executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, who decided — without public comment or approval from bosses — that residents of Alabama, Kansas and Georgia can no longer register to vote using a national form without providing proof of U.S. citizenship.

As a finalist for the job of executive director, Newby said in a June email to his benefactor, Kansas' Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, that he was friends with two of the commissioners at the federal agency, and told Kobach: "I think I would enter the job empowered to lead the way I want to."

Documents obtained by AP show Newby's ties to Kobach, the architect of voter ID and other restrictive voter registration laws around the nation that he says are needed to prevent voter fraud. Critics say there is very little voter fraud and Kobach's measures hurt voter registration and deprive eligible voters of the right to vote.

Kobach had appointed Newby to be a county elections commissioner in Kansas, and helped him get the federal job that he took in November.

"I wanted you in the loop, in part because of other issues in the past with the EAC," Newby emailed Kobach. "I also don't want you thinking that you can't count on me in an upcoming period that will tax our resources."

Newby declined to comment for this story about the email, referring questions to a commission spokesman, Bryan Whitener, who declined comment. Newby was hired by the three sitting commissioners.

Kobach said Wednesday that he spoke to one, and possibly two of the Republican commissioners, about Newby prior to his hiring.

"I told that person I thought Newby would be excellent and he was one of Kansas' most talented county election officers and indeed one of the most talented election officers in country," Kobach said.

But documents from open records requests and interviews by AP show that as early as April 2015 and continuing in the months leading to Newby's hiring by the commission, Kobach and his staff met with county officials to discuss concerns about Newby's job performance in Kansas. Those concerns led officials to call for an audit of the Johnson County election office Newby led.

Kobach told AP he never informed the federal commissioners about those problems, and insisted they would not have affected Newby's performance at his federal job.

The audit released earlier this month found Newby intentionally skirted oversight of government credit card expenses, wasted taxpayer funds and improperly claimed mileage and travel expenses while at his former job in Kansas. Newby has called the audit inaccurate and misleading.

Another Right-Wing Extremist With White Nationalist Ties Endorses Donald Trump

It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump would pick up the endorsement of anti-immigrant hardliner and conspiracy theorist Kris Kobach, who announced his support for the GOP presidential frontrunner in a statement today.

Kobach, who serves as the Secretary of State of Kansas, a talk radio host and an anti-immigrant legal activist, said that he is specifically endorsing Trump because of the billionaire mogul’s immigration stance, boasting that he told Trump that the PATRIOT Act “contains a provision that the United States can and should use as leverage with the Government of Mexico” to make them pay for the proposed border wall.

Back in 2012, Mitt Romney tapped Kobach, the architect of anti-immigrant laws throughout the U.S., to serve as an adviser on immigration policy in his campaign.

As Peter wrote at the time,

He may be best known as the brains behind Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, and he successfully pushed for anti-immigrant language in the platform, including a call for the federal government to deny funds to universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition – a plank that puts Kobach and the platform at odds with Kansas law. Immigration is not Kobach’s only issue. He is an energizing force behind the Republican Party’s massive push for voter suppression laws around the country, and he led the effort to get language inserted into the platform calling on states to pass laws requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. He also pushed language aimed at the supposed threat to the Constitution and laws of the US from “Sharia law”; getting this language into the platform puts the GOP in position of endorsing a ludicrous far-right conspiracy theory.

Kobach, who once worked for an anti-immigrant hate group, has also spoken alongside White Nationalist leaders, most recently addressing a racist media outlet called the Social Contract Press.

Kobach has also used his radio show to voice his extremist views: He warned that Latinos may one day conduct ethnic cleansing in America, claimed Democrats are “replacing American voters with newly legalized aliens” and wondered if President Obama would ban the prosecution of black people , deriding the president as the product of “affirmative action culture” and possibly a secret Muslim.

His record as secretary of state is even more troubling, as Kobach used the myth of mass voter fraud to push through stringent laws that have disenfranchised thousands of Kansans.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/22/16

  • Glenn Beck cannot believe that he is being mocked for merely asking the nation to "fast for Ted Cruz, our country and the Nevada caucus," especially since he's just like Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, James Madison and Ronald Reagan.
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach calls the League of Women Voters “communist” for opposing his restrictive proof-of-citizenship voting law.
  • Alan Snyder says that no true Christian would ever support Donald Trump: "Those who claim to be the representatives of Jesus Christ in this woeful world need to match their words with their actions, and one of those actions is to vote according to the Biblical worldview they profess to believe in. To vote for a man like Donald Trump is to violate one’s confession of Christian faith."
  • Liberty Counsel's lawsuit against the Fairfax County School District's nondiscrimination policy which provided protection based on sexual orientiation and gender identity has been dismissed.
  • Finally, Jennifer LeClaire reveals that fellow Chrisitans are practicing witchcraft against her: "I believe people can release witchcraft word curses against you. I more than believe it, I know it because my inbox is full of them every week. People curse me, my family, my ministry and more with the wicked words of their mouth—most of the times these are Christians. A witchcraft word curse from a Christian, I believe, is more powerful than any curse from a witch because a believer's words carry an anointing."

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/12/16

Kris Kobach Wonders If Obama Is Using Syria Conflict 'As a Pretense For Opening The Door to Radical Islam'

Kris Kobach is a quietly influential Republican politician who has helped lawmakers across the country write anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures. He also serves as the secretary of state of Kansas and as a local talk radio personality, hosting a weekly radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO.

Last week, Kobach invited to his radio show Kamal Saleem, a Religious Right favorite who claims, dubiously, that he was once a leading Islamic terrorist but who is now trying to warn America that Obama’s babysitter is leading a secret Islamic shadow government and that churches will be closed in 2013. Things quickly went off the rails.

Kobach, who has previously said of Obama that “we’ve never known who this guy is or where his heart is,” told Saleem that he wonders if Obama is intentionally “putting his finger on the scale in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood or the radical Islamists.”

“It seems to me that Obama’s policies, one after another, seem to be ones that if they don’t favor radical Islamism, they open the door to people like Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood time and again,” he said. “And it just makes me wonder, is it incompetence by Obama or is he intentionally using the so-called Arab Spring as a pretense and using what’s going on in Syria as a pretense for opening the door to radical Islamism? I just, I wonder what’s going on.”

“It’s no doubt he’s throwing the grid off and the balance of the entire Middle East off-balance to create chaos for the Muslim Brotherhood to start establishing their power,” Saleem agreed.

The two also discussed the allegations popularized by Frank Gaffney that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the Republican Party through conservative activists Grover Norquist and Suhail Kahn.

Saleem, in a reference to the Christian dominionist Seven Mountains theology, which calls for conservative Christians to take over the “seven mountains” of culture in America, told Kobach that Muslims are “infiltrating our government little by little, with the help of our senior government, to become part of our nation to include the seven mountains of influence in the United States of America.” He lamented that there is now “Islamic leadership on every mountaintop.”

Kobach, who worked in George W. Bush’s Justice Department, said that that was “consistent with what I observed when I was in the Bush administration,” where there was “a constant effort to populate the leadership even of a Republican administration with individuals to show to the world, outwardly, that, ‘Look, we have lots of Muslim leaders within the government, don’t anyone think that this is a broader issue with Islam.’”

The two then turned to discussing what Saleem called the “infiltration of Islam into the GOP,” claiming that Norquist’s “wife is a radical Islamist.”

Saleem also claimed that Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain have backed a “hate crime bill” that says that “whoever speaks against Islam should be penalized and the First Amendment cannot apply to that person.” (We have no idea what he is referring to.)

This all, he said, shows that the GOP is “changing and taking the Muslim side, so you know the infiltration of finances and power is moving that direction.”

Kris Kobach: 'Travesty' Of Same-Day Voter Registration Enables Fictional Voter Fraud Buses

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and architect of anti-immigrant and voter suppression measures copied across the country, called same-day voter registration a “travesty” on a recent radio program, portraying his restrictive voting laws as necessary to prevent various mythical voter fraud schemes.

On his weekly radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO on October 25, Kobach took a call from a listener who presented a somewhat convoluted scheme involving performing facial recognition scanning on everyone who votes and going to the houses of people who cast ballots by mail in order to scan their faces, all in the name of preventing voter fraud.

When Kobach told the caller that this plan might be a little too costly and complicated to really work, the caller said that desperate times call for desperate measures, citing debunked voter fraud conspiracy theories, including a false story about Woods County, Ohio, and a version of the perennial “people bused in from a big city to vote fraudulently” story, this time one that appears to have originated on the conspiracy theory website Infowars.

“Well, I think that in Woods County, Ohio, 108 percent of the registered voters cast ballots for Obama,” the caller insisted, “and I think that in Wisconsin, busloads of people from Chicago were bused to polls where under state law you could register to vote on Election Day [inaudible] and not even have an ID.”

This, Kobach seemed to think, was a reasonable complaint, and told the caller that his restrictive voting policies have eliminated such problems in Kansas. “Right,” Kobach said, “which is why — proof of citizenship stops that, because you can’t have same-day registration, which is a travesty, I think same-day registration is a huge problem, and proof of citizenship prevents you from registering fictitious identities or registering under someone else’s name. So I think we, you can’t do those things in Kansas anymore.”

Kobach is currently attempting to purge 37,000 people from Kansas’ voter rolls for failing to provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship when they registered to vote.

Republican Leaders Address Event Organized By White Nationalist-Linked Publisher

Two leading opponents of immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, spoke this week at an annual “writers’ workshop” event held by the Social Contract Press, an anti-immigrant publication that frequently publishes the work of white nationalists, according to the Center for New Community.

Kobach is the brains behind a wide range of anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation around the country. Babin, a freshman Republican, is the loudest champion in Congress of efforts to restrict refugee resettlement in the U.S., which CNC reports was a central topic at the event.

CNC writes:

The annual Writers’ Workshop is the brainchild of white nationalist and founder of the organized anti-immigrant movement, John Tanton. The meetings began as a venue for Tanton and colleagues to exchange ideas and strategies as they worked to build the then-nascent anti-immigrant movement that exists today. The invitation-only meetings have been attended by prominent white nationalists over the years including Peter Brimelow, Sam Francis, and Jared Taylor.

Tanton is no longer a regular at these meetings, but under the stewardship of KC McAlpin and Wayne Lutton, the white nationalist editor of TSCP’s quarterly journal, the bigotry sparking these meetings remains 39 years later.

SPLC summarizes the Social Contract Press’ racist and anti-immigrant content:

The Social Contract Press (TSCP) routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S. Inc, the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement. TSCP puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today's immigrants. Recent articles in its main product, The Social Contract, have propagated the myth that Latino activists want to occupy and 'reclaim' the American Southwest, argued that no Muslim immigrants should be allowed into the U.S., and claimed that multiculturalists are trying to replace "successful Euro-American culture" with "dysfunctional Third World cultures."

Kobach's Voting Restrictions Hitting Young, New Voters The Hardest

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a leader of the GOP’s anti-immigrant and restrictive voting efforts, and has been trying out some of his most extreme ideas in his home state.

Kobach helped to push through one of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, requiring people registering to vote to produce documentation of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Because of this law, 36,000 people in Kansas have started voter registrations but not completed them, and now Kobach is purging that list of people who haven’t followed up to complete their registrations.

The New York Times today looked at the list of incomplete registrations in Kansas and found that a disproportionate number of people it affected were young and that the vast majority were new voters:

An analysis by The New York Times of the list of voters showed that more than half of them were under 35, and 20 percent were from 18 to 20 years old. Fifty-seven percent of the people on the list did not declare a party; 23 percent were Democrats; and 18 percent were Republicans. The vast majority — 90 percent — had never voted before.

“This disproportionately hits 18- to 24-year-olds,” said Jamie Shew, a Democrat and the county clerk for Douglas County, Kan. “For a lot of them, they say, ‘I’m not going to worry about it.’ They’re busy and this is just one more thing to do.”

Under the law, which was passed in 2011, registrants must prove citizenship by producing a document from an approved list, which includes birth certificates, passports and naturalization records. They may bring the document to a county clerk’s office or email a photo of it. Under Mr. Kobach’s new rule, if they fail to do so, they would be removed from the voters list after 90 days. Residents can try to register again even after being removed from the list.

The 36,000 people on the list represent about 2 percent of the state’s 1.7 million registered voters. The Wichita Eagle reported in September that more than 16 percent of people who have tried to register to vote since the law went into effect in January 2013 have been placed on the list.

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/27/15

Kobach: Adoption By Gay Couples 'Certainly Not Good For The Kids'

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a rising star in the Republican Party who has helped to craft the party’s immigration and voting rights policies, said in a recent interview that his biggest concern about marriage equality is the prospect of gay couples adopting children, which he said is “certainly not good for the kids.”

Joe Miller, the failed Alaska GOP senate candidate and Kobach’s Yale Law School classmate, spoke with the Kansas official on his radio program in an interview posted online last week.

Kobach told Miller that the implications on religious liberty of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down gay marriage bans would be “not good.”

“Although the decision may not be used as a direct precedent for infringing upon the rights of us, of people of faith, to speak freely,” he said, “I think it’ll be used as kind of supporting law when the next thing comes down the pike, which will be probably an attack on the 501(c)3 status of churches that don’t affirm gay marriage, you might see some attacks on free speech by members of the cloth of any faith. I don’t know which is going to come first, but I think all of these things are now very real possibilities moving forward.”

“Of course, one thing that I really cared about in this whole gay marriage dispute over the last decade is adopted kids,” he added. “Now we have a situation where gay couples are adopting on the same terms and must be allowed to adopt on the same legal terms as heterosexual couples and, you know, that’s certainly not good for the kids. So, so many things are going to be following from this.”

Miller responded by citing a toilet paper ad in praise of single moms, saying, “It’s a world upside down, elites are trying to impose a different value system on this country, they’ve had a large degree of success and they certainly have a willing hand in the Supreme Court in their efforts.”

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