Friday, April 11, 2008

Lynn Jenkins: Treasurer or candidate for Congress?

In a story that has been slowly simmering for the past few months, Lynn Jenkins is beginning to take some more heat over the American Century ads bearing her smiling mug. After the first bit of controversy started when Ric Anderson of the Topeka Capital-Journal and Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star both wrote pieces criticizing, for different reasons, Jenkins' role in the advertising campaign. (The Star has taken the above-mentioned stories off their web site)

In typical amateur fashion. the Jenkins camp flew off the handle, ultimately culminating in this defensive guest column in the Kansas City Star in which she claimed that her presence in these advertisements was at the request of American Century and based on "extensive research" which showed that her face makes the ads all the more effective.

However, when pressed to provide such research, all the Treasurer's office could come up with was a power point slide with this ambiguous, unattributed quote.
"They see it's from Lynn Jenkins and it's professionally done and that impresses people and carries a lot of weight."

Really, it doesn't matter, at least according to the Federal Election Commission.

Sure, when the ads ran at the end of 2006, right before her 2nd election for State Treasurer, we kind of rolled our eyes and said "How convenient."

Now, as a candidate for Congress, Jenkins is subject to FEC regulations. and since these ads are paid for by American Century, it doesn't matter if she makes them more effective or if she had no idea they might benefit her politically. The fact is they do benefit her politically, which constitutes an in-kind contribution from a corporation, which is illegal in elections for Federal office.

Is it her responsibility as State Treasurer to promote this 529 program personally? Ya, probably. But it's also her responsibility as a candidate for Congress to adhere to all laws and regulations set forth by the relevant governing bodies.

Something has to give. This isn't just a matter of her election being a distraction from her duties or causing a time crunch, we are to the point where her responsibilities as State Treasurer are leading to violations of FEC regs. Lynn needs to decide if she's the Kansas State Treasurer or if she's a candidate for Congress. She just can't do both anymore.

1 comment:

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