The Secretary of State in Kansas asked a federal judge to block the release of his sworn deposition, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Thursday.
Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the Republican Party nominee for governor in Kansas and has found himself in a surprisingly close race against State Sen. Laura Kelly (D-KS).
An attorney in the Secretary of State’s office, Sue Becker, filed documents Wednesday arguing that the release of the deposition’s videotape would case “permanent, irreparable harm” to Kobach’s political campaign.
“A majority of the videotape was shown during the U.S. District Court trial and a transcript of Kobach’s statements in the deposition taken by the ACLU was previously made public,” The Capital-Journal reported. “The tape shows Kobach, who appeared uncomfortable and irritated during the deposition, talking about meetings he had with President Donald Trump’s transition team regarding possible reform of federal election law.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Topeka Capital-Journal, the Kansas City public radio station KCUR and nonprofit news organization ProPublica have requested the tape’s release, noting the video was played in open court.
“The ACLU is a nonprofit and transparently nonpartisan institution dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the United States Constitution,” said ACLU attorney Orion Danjuma. “One of those fundamental principles is the First Amendment, which grants the public the right to know what happened at a public trial and the press the right to report on it.”
“The question for Mr. Kobach is why he is so desperate to hide his own sworn testimony from the people of Kansas,” Danjuma added.
Laura Kelly’s campaign seized upon the issue, slamming Kobach for using taxpayer resources to attempt to defend his political campaign.
“Kansans deserve to have all the information about the candidates running to lead their state. Not only that, the fact that his taxpayer-funded staff is more concerned with Kris Kobach’s campaign than the state of Kansas is alarming,” spokesperson Johanna Warshaw charged.
A prominent Democrat went even further, openly mocking Kobach over the issue.
“I’d be shocked if any judge would suppress that tape based on an argument that it makes the person deposed look bad,” House Minority Leader Jim Ward said. “Kris, put on your big-boy pants. You’re playing for the most important job in Kansas.”
Kelly’s campaign has received support from a former GOP governor, two former GOP U.S. senators, a former chair of the Kansas Republican Party and over thirty current and former GOP legislators.