Brownback officials aware of open-meetings danger

Brownback administration officials sought at least three legal opinions before hosting a series of legislative committees for dinners at the governor’s mansion, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Gov. Sam Brownback’s legislative liaisons, Tim Shallenburger and Peter Northcott, told investigators that they attempted to vet the legality of the dinners beforehand with the governor’s chief counsel, the House of Representatives’ chief clerk and a member of the Office of Revisor of Statutes. Mary Torrence, the head of the revisor’s office, told the Capital-Journal that she didn’t recall giving any advice about the meetings. If she had been asked and had been told the dinners included a quorum of committee members and that the governor would outline his policy agenda and take questions from legislators, she would have advised that the Kansas Open Meetings Act would apply. “I think we would have said, ‘well, that’s a committee meeting,’” Torrence said.