Kobach Hands Kansas Governor Recall Responsibilities to His Deputy, Who Has Donated to His Campaign, and Not to Election Professional

KC Star:

Assistant Secretary of State Eric Rucker will take over Kobach’s duties and will serve on the State Board of Canvassers, which will certify the final election results. Rucker donated $1,000 to Kobach’s campaign last fall, according to campaign finance records….

Rucker was a top aide to former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline.

Rucker found himself under scrutiny by an attorney disciplinary panel in 2010 that had looked into how Kline’s office conducted itself as it investigated the late Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller and Planned Parenthood in Overland Park.

Kline’s office faced a far-reaching investigation into complaints that he misled judges and a grand jury during the probe into abortion providers.

While Kline would later have his law license suspended for what the Kansas supreme court found to be “clear and convincing evidence” of professional misconduct, Rucker in 2010 received an informal admonition for not correcting misleading information he provided to the state’s highest court.

Rucker’s attorney in that disciplinary case was Caleb Stegall, who would later go on to serve as former Gov. Sam Brownback’s general counsel before becoming a justice on the Kansas supreme court.

Rucker was also the subject of a lawsuit last year from a former employee in the secretary of state’s office.

The former employee alleged in the federal lawsuit that her situation was a case of “reverse religious discrimination,” and described Rucker as telling her grandmother that she had been fired because the staffer was a diversion, mean and didn’t go to church, with Rucker placing a particular emphasis on church as a factor.

The jury rejected the employee’s claim, though the trial provoked further scrutiny of Rucker’s work within the office.

Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said he had assumed that Kobach would turn over his responsibilities to an election professional within the secretary of state’s office.

“However, it appears that the secretary is not sensitive to the appearance of impropriety and by appointing his longtime right hand Erick Rucker he is not eliminating the appearance of impropriety but only transferring the responsibility to another one of his political cronies,” Carmichael said.

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