Judge fines Kobach $1,000
Kansas’ secretary of state misled court in an effort to keep two documents private.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has been fined $1,000 for misleading a federal court in an effort to keep two documents private. One of the documents had been photographed and widely shared last fall after Kobach met with then-President-elect Donald Trump.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year against Kobach arguing that his state’s proof of citizenship law violates the National Voter Registration Act. ACLU lawyers asked Kobach to produce two documents they said pertained to the case.
One of those documents was a draft of a proposed amendment to the National Voter Registration Act. The other is the document photographed after Kobach and Trump met in November. The power of a zoom lens exposed certain details of his proposal to Trump to deport potential terrorists.
Trump tapped Kobach last month to serve as vice chairman of a presidential commission to oversee a voter fraud investigation.
In a 24-page ruling made public Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge James O’Hara wrote that Kobach did not accurately represent the contents of the documents when he argued against producing them.
“Defendant refused to produce these documents, asserting that they are beyond the scope of reopened discovery, do not seek relevant information, and are protected by the attorneyclient, deliberative-process, and executive privileges,” the judge wrote.
The court took Kobach at his word, O’Hara wrote, but upon review of the documents — produced under a court order — found that they did relate to the voting rights case.
The judge wrote that while the court could not say that Kobach “flat-out lied,” the “defendant’s statements can be construed as wordplay meant to present a materially inaccurate picture of the documents.”
For now, the documents will remain classified, as Kobach designated them. But, O’Hara wrote, that status could change.
ONE of the documents Kris Kobach tried to keep private was photographed and widely shared last fall after he met with then-President-elect Donald Trump.