Judge fines Kobach over document he took to Trump meeting

Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was fined $1,000 on Friday by a federal magistrate judge for “patently misleading representations” he made to the court about the contents of a document he was photographed taking into a November meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump.

“The court agrees that the defendant’s deceptive conduct and lack of candor warrant the imposition of sanctions,” U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara wrote in his ruling.

Kobach did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The dispute stems from efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain a document that The Associated Press photographed Kobach taking into his meeting with Trump referencing a possible amendment to the National Voting Registration Act.

“It did alert us to the possibility that he wanted to change the federal motor voter law. That is relevant not only to our case, it is relevant to voters all across the country,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s voting rights project.

That photograph prompted ACLU to seek to obtain it and any related materials on his proposed changes to federal voting law. Kobach essentially told the court and the ACLU that he didn’t have any such documents — the misrepresentation cited in the judge’s order.

The dispute arose in the ACLU’s federal lawsuit in Kansas challenging the state’s voter registration law that requires people to submit citizenship documents such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or U.S. passport.

Kobach initially refused to give the documents to the ACLU, prompting the group to seek a court order forcing him to turn over any documents about his efforts to change federal law on the type of information states require to determine voting eligibility.

In response to that motion, the judge said Kobach made misleading representations to the court about the contents of documents. When two federal judges subsequently privately examined them in chambers they found them to be relevant, and both ordered Kobach to give them to the ACLU.

Kobach eventually did so, but only after designating them “confidential” to prevent the public from seeing the documents.

The ACLU sought to have that designation removed, but the judge stopped short on Friday of ordering the materials to be made public.

Kobach has argued in a court filing that the ACLU’s efforts to make those materials public are meant “to annoy, harass and embarrass” him.

Trump has named Kobach vice chairman of a national election fraud commission. Kobach has announced he is running for Kansas governor.

The judge told Kobach to pay the fine by July 21, saying he was imposing the fine to deter him from deliberately attempting to mislead the court in the future. He also ordered Kobach to submit to questioning from the ACLU about the two documents at a closed deposition on July 5.””

In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, holds a stack of papers as he meets with then President-elect Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Civil rights advocates say Kobach is trying to hide materials that undercut his public claim that substantial numbers of noncitizens have registered to vote. The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents as part of its federal civil lawsuit in Kansas challenging the state’s proof-of-citizenship document requirement. It wants to court to remove the confidential designation Kobach placed on materials he was photographed taking into a November meeting. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Local News

Looking back on a storied career: Dick Gremillion talks about his years serving as Calcasieu OHSEP director

life

PHOTO GALLERY: SW La. Veterans Home Memorial Day observance

life

12-year-old Hadlei Self a finalist in ICMA talent search

Crime

Local man found guilty in fatal assault of roommate

McNeese Sports

Nicholls ends Cowboy run

Local News

Triple-digit heat index possible Memorial Day weekend

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Louisiana governors have stroke

McNeese Sports

Lamar outslugs McNeese

McNeese Sports

SFA set to return to SLC

Crime

5/24: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

VIDEO: Washington-Marion Marching Jukebox parades through store

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: There’s always something to do

Local News

Calcasieu Parish Short Film Festival offers day of free film watching

Business

Sowela offering free fiber optics training in partnership with Venture Global

Business

Search committee formed to find new Chamber CEO

Local News

41st Avenue of Flags Memorial Day display planned

Local News

Teacher Beth Mouton: ‘I am here to love them and love them well’

McNeese Sports

LeJeune powers Pokes past UIW

Local News

Downtown at Sundown returns on Friday

Local News

Bill to put air conditioning, heat in school buses fails

McNeese Sports

Cowboys going international

Crime

5/23: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Hurricane forecast points to a dangerous 2024 Atlantic season

life

Citgo and Bess the Book Bus bring the joy of reading to SW La. students