Daily Archives: Dec. 11, 2012

O’Neal still House speaker while heading Kansas chamber

Mike O’Neal’s decision to remain as speaker of the Kansas House until mid-January, even though he already has begun working as chief executive officer and president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, has raised ethics complaints. “This is unprecedented in terms of conflict of interest,” Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. But O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, said he is not violating any ethics laws because he won’t become an official lobbyist for the chamber until after he resigns from the House. This isn’t the first ethics concern about O’Neal, the Capital-Journal noted. A House committee criticized O’Neal for being lead attorney in a 2010 lawsuit against the state over a budget dispute, and the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission investigated the hiring of O’Neal’s wife for an administrative job in the House leadership office but decided there was insufficient evidence that O’Neal broke nepotism laws.

State GOP, Brownback lost ‘moral compass’

GOP power brokers led by Gov. Sam Brownback are operating by “intimidation and threats” and “without a moral compass,” outgoing state Sen. Dick Kelsey (in photo), R-Goddard, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. Kelsey, who was targeted for defeat by Brownback and by the state and Wichita chambers of commerce, said that the administration and its backers “will say and do anything to achieve their goals” – including falsely claiming in campaign mailers that Kelsey supported Obamacare. “That was absolutely asinine,” Kelsey said. What is particularly frustrating is that these are some of the same people “who wave the Christian flag more than anybody has ever done in state government,” Kelsey said. “Yet they did not operate with any kind of truthfulness or honesty.”

Brownback shares faith at prayer event

Gov. Sam Brownback spoke for about 10 minutes at the ReignDown USA prayer and worship event held Saturday in Topeka. In addition to talking about the phrase “In God We Trust” as it pertains to the country, Brownback shared how being diagnosed with cancer in 1995 led him to a stronger commitment to his faith, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. “I finally reached up and said, ‘God, this life’s yours.’ It started a great adventure,” he said. Brownback prayed “for forgiveness of his sins, while also asking forgiveness of man’s sins, like broken treaties with Native Americans and slavery, or generalizations, such as greed and lust,” the Capital-Journal reported.