Huelskamp Fires Back At DA Over Donations For Tourney Tickets Raffle

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FOWLER, Kan. (WIBW) -- Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) campaign is firing back at District Attorney Charles Branson a day after the congressman announced he was revising his plans for raffling off tickets to men's college basketball games for small campaign contributions because of legal questions.

Huelskamp said he was exploring "all legal avenues per prosecutorial misconduct" by the Douglas Co. DA. His reelection campaign organization Kansans for Huelskamp said they were contacted by several lawyers who told them Branson committed "a serious and clear violation of prosecutorial ethics by misusing his office for political, partisan purposes."

Huelskamp's camp said they hadn't even received a notification that they were being investigated before the media was notified.

"This kangaroo trial via the media conducted by Branson's statewide leak of the letter threatening Congressman Huelskamp before even investigating all the facts is appalling," Bell continued.

Assistant to the Attorney General Cheryl Wright Kunard said Branson's Office had no official response at the time. She did note though:

In light of the press release from his campaign, it is clearly within the obligation of this office to investigate and prosecute crimes committed within our jurisdiction. Operation of illegal lotteries in Kansas is a crime defined by statute and clarified by Kansas Attorney General opinion and letters. Notifying the public of ongoing criminal activity is an appropriate function of the office. It is similar to the process we have used on many other occasions when solicitations for illegal or criminal activity put the citizens of Douglas County at risk. Notifying Representative Huelskamp that he was implicated with this suspected criminal conduct was also appropriate.

On Tuesday, Huelskamp no longer requiring a donation of at least $10 for a chance to win four tickets to NCAA men's tournament games this week in St. Louis. Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State will play.

He opened the raffle Monday in an email to supporters, saying they could make donations until Wednesday morning.

Huelskamp is seeking a third term in the U.S. House from the 1st Congressional District.

In their statement they cited Supreme Court Rule 3.6(a), which states:

A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter.

Kansas Supreme Court Rule 3.8(f) states: except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor's action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the proscutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.