TOPEKA - (May 1, 2023) - Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach entered office a little more than 100 days ago. In that time, he’s advanced an agenda that fights fraud and crime, increases protections for Kansas taxpayers, pushes back against federal overreach from the Biden administration and eliminates fees for Kansans to exercise their constitutional rights.
“I am grateful to Kansas voters every day for the opportunity to defend our constitution, protect the rights and property of Kansans and serve our great state,” Kobach said in a press conference Monday afternoon.
Protecting Kansans from Price Gouging
Within his first few weeks in office, Kobach filed a lawsuit against a middleman for Kansas gas utilities arguing that the company manipulated gas prices during a 2021 winter storm. The Attorney General alleges that Macquarie Energy artificially inflated prices for natural gas, causing heating rates to skyrocket. Kansas families felt the pinch.
“Kansas families deserve protection from price gouging and market manipulation,” Kobach said. “Companies in Kansas must play by the rules.”
Fighting Crime by Shutting Down the Supply of Fentanyl and Stopping Organized Retail Crime
“On the campaign trail, I promised to do everything I could to reduce the flow of fentanyl into Kansas and to prevent retail crime in Kansas, and today I’m happy to say I’m delivering on that promise with help from Kansas lawmakers,” Kobach said. “I’m confident that the Governor is likely to sign the crime bill.”
The Kansas Legislature recently passed a crime bill that increases the penalties in fentanyl cases and that helps combat organized retail crime by allowing multi-county crimes to be prosecuted directly by the Attorney General’s Office.
The Legislature provided additional and badly needed resources to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that will assist in combatting fentanyl trafficking and preventing crimes against children. The Legislature also provided resources to replace outdated scientific equipment at the laboratory and overdue improvements to KBI’s facility in Great Bend.
“I am grateful to the Kansas legislature for giving the Kansas Attorney General’s office and the KBI the tools needed to protect Kansans and their rights,” Kobach said.
Additionally, the Attorney General is working with law enforcement partners including the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to create task forces that will find ways to shut down the supply of fentanyl in our state and root out organized retail crime in Kansas.
Eliminating State Investments in ESG Funds
One of Kobach’s top priorities since entering office is protecting Kansas investments. He pushed for and helped draft a new law that requires the Kansas pension system to invest solely in funds based on the highest return on investment instead of using social-issue litmus tests as part of their investment strategy.
“ESG investing uses the retirement savings of Kansans as leverage to starve companies of capital if those companies support the gun industry, do not meet woke environmental standards, don’t bow down at the identity politics altar, or do not support abortion. The nest eggs of Kansas teachers, police officers and other state employees should not be jeopardized by those pushing a political ideology, and I’m pleased to be able to deliver on that campaign promise,” Kobach said.
The Attorney General’s Office also joined a lawsuit challenging a Biden administration Labor Department rule on ESG investing for private retirement funds. That suit is pending. The suit alleges that the rule makes it easier for fiduciaries to use individual’s retirement money to advance a woke agenda, while making it harder for actual investors to police such conduct.
Pushing back against overreach from the Biden administration
As a former professor of constitutional law, Kobach promised to defend the U.S. Constitution from federal overreach. During the press conference, he pointed to a number of lawsuits the office has filed against the Biden administration since he took over, as well as letters sent to federal authorities pushing back against unconstitutional actions. Specifically, Kobach talked about his lawsuit against the Biden administration’s illegal listing of the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species.
“This listing clearly violates the property rights of Kansas ranchers, farmers, and other landowners,” Kobach said. “If the listing goes into effect, drilling new oil wells in western Kansas will be nearly impossible, and Kansas ranchers will have to get cattle grazing plans approved by the federal bureaucracy. Even the green energy infrastructure the President claims to love so much will come to a halt.”
Kobach’s office is also engaged in lawsuits against the Biden administration that challenge:
- a Department of Homeland Security program that grants an immigration amnesty to hundreds of thousands of foreigners
- an ATF rule that subjects pistol stabilizing braces to the National Firearms Act
- an EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule that would redefine the Clean Water Act term, “Waters of the United States,” so that federal agencies would have jurisdiction over not just “navigable waters” but nearly every ponds, stream, ditch and other bodies of water in America, which will impact farmers, developers, and other property owners.
Restoring the Number of Attorneys in the AG’s Office
When Kobach entered office, there were 25 attorney positions vacant, hindering the ability of the office to do all of the work required of it. This was gradual attrition that occurred because AG salaries were well below major counties and far below private firms.
“I explained this to the legislature, and they appropriated additional funds to solve the problem. I’m happy to report that as a result we have been successful in hiring some very well qualified attorneys from across the state,” Kobach said. “So far, we have filled seven of the 25 vacancies and we are in the process of interviewing and making offers to more.”