"I will tell the people what's going on at the statehouse. I'm going to treat the capitol as a borderline crime scene. ... If businesses don't have to pay taxes, the burden should not be on those trying to feed themselves." - The Valley Falls Vindicator & Oskaloosa Independent, March 3, 2016.

Across Kansas the top 1% are looting and on-the-loose, pitting us against each other. Communities in Jefferson County need to democratically prepare themselves for food and energy autonomy.

- MICHAEL CADDELL, Publisher

Letter to the Editor, TRANSPARENCY? Oct. 29, 2015

Published: Valley Falls Vindicator, Oskaloosa Independent

Transparency?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent running as a Democrat for president stated to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during their first televised debate: “Let me say something that may not be great politics. … That is the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. … We have massive wealth and income inequality. … Let’s talk about the real issues facing Americans.”

15 million viewers watching the Las Vegas debate were gifted the line later to be parodied through comedy writer, actor Larry David imitating Sanders on Saturday Night Live. 

Obama approved changes in the Federal Records Act in 2014 – after Clinton left his administration – that now require federal officials to forward private e-mails on official business to their government accounts.

This transparency is apparently not at the state government level in Kansas as the Wichita Eagle reporter Bryan Lowry, along with the Kansas Press Association recently discovered in pursuing through the Kansas Open Records Act emails sent by the governor’s staff during the 2014 legislative holiday break.
 
The Oct. 17th Eagle article had the governor’s current budget director Shawn Sullivan using his private email account to send along drafts of the budget to both Brownback’s former campaign manager and chief of staff, while during the same day clearing statehouse security for entrance on his government email service.

Sullivan’s tip-off clued both David Kensinger and Mark Dugan toward lucrative lobbying bids for big tobacco’s Reynolds American and the Kansas Club for Growth, respectively.

It took eight months for the emails to be sent electronically to the Wichita Eagle. While Sullivan’s email pinged through Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer’s personal and campaign net addresses last Christmas holiday, we were flooded with news about Hillary’s “damn emails.” 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt confirmed in a legal opinion that a loophole provided that these exchanges of Sullivan, Kensinger, Dugan, other officials and the lieutenant governor meant there would never be an official record no matter the “public business.”

The Kansas press barely learned in time before Brownback’s re-election that his lieutenant governor twice “loaned” his campaign $500,000.

Citizens and the news press are treated like bottom feeding catfish by these high flying bass, resulting in all of us involved in democracy looking like asses.

Donald Trump had it wrong when calling elected government representatives “stupid.” They are, in fact, clever fish knowing how to hide in the cool dark holes when it comes to fishing for shady business deals.

Mike Caddell
Radio Free Kansas
North Jefferson County