Email: Business Discussed At Kan. Gov. Meetings

By: AP (Posted by Amanda Lanum)
By: AP (Posted by Amanda Lanum)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An email from the manager of the governor's residence said the purpose of private dinner meetings with Republican legislators at the residence was, in part, to discuss business.

The Shawnee County District Attorney is investigating seven Republican-only dinners at Cedar Crest, the governor's residence, for violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, which prohibits a majority of a legislative body from gathering behind closed doors to discuss business.

The Topeka Capital-Journal ( reports that among hundreds of RSVPs obtained through an open records request, there's one in which Rebecca Witte, who manages Cedar Crest, told a
legislator's assistant that committee members gathering for a dinner will "spend some time discussing business.''

Gov. Sam Brownback's office said Witte "misinformed'' the lawmaker's office, and the dinners didn't violate the Open Meetings Act.

Gov. Sam Brownback acknowledges he set up private meetings with Republican legislators at his official residence to discuss his agenda but says the events didn't violate the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Brownback said Friday that the manager at Cedar Crest, the governor's residence, made an inaccurate statement when she told a legislator's assistant in a January email that lawmakers would discuss business.

But the Republican governor said he intended to talk about his legislative agenda at the gatherings - and did.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, a Democrat, is investigating seven meetings in January at Cedar Crest with Republicans on 13 legislative committees.

Brownback said his presentations didn't violate the law and that his staff and lawmakers present monitored discussions to make sure legislators did not as well.

Information from: The Topeka Capital-Journal,

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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