In a story this blog broke weeks ago, the Kansas City Star has finally reported on State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins and her unethical ties to a firm running TV ads in Kansas featuring her smiling face.
The ads, paid for by a company called American Century, tout the college savings program "Learning Quest" which is administered through Lynn's office. While none of us are convinced Jenkins actually has anything to do with the program's operation in Kansas, we will say it's important, and we're happy Kansas families have access to it.
With that said, the TV ads are nothing more than campaign spots.
Ah, but splashing her face all over her district isn't the only thing American Century has done for Lynn Jenkins:
American Century’s then-CEO also donated to Jenkins’ campaign to be re-elected treasurer shortly before Jenkins extended the company’s contract in 2006. A lobbyist for American Century has contributed to Jenkins’ congressional campaign and her state treasurer bids. [Emphasis ours].
“It raises serious ethical questions of outside corporate interests in a federal election,” said Kyle Robertson, the campaign manager for Jenkins’ GOP primary opponent, former U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun.
Understand how much it pains us to say this, but Robertson is right. This is blatantly unethical, and a outright violation of the spirit of every campaign finance reform law passed in the last decade.Jenkins, of course, sees nothing wrong with the ads, but that's just another examples of her cluelessness when it comes to the issues important to the people of her district. We want our politicians to be honest and to play by the rules, and these ads clearly give her an unfair advantage. That, of course, ignores the more serious ethical question: Did the contract with American Century get renewed by the Office of the Kansas Treasurer because Lynn was promised kickbacks, or were the donations just "thank yous" for making her fat cat friends even more weathly?
The company says it just might decide to run the ads again just before the general election in November, should Jenkins be the nominee. We're calling on Lynn Jenkins to publicly tell American Century, "thanks, but no thanks," and to direct them to stop ads and mailings that featuring her for the duration of her campaign for Congress.
Do the right thing, Lynn, and keep this race on the up-and-up. Tell American Century to keep their money.
(Or, you could do what the people of Kansas really deserve: Resign the office of treasurer. At least that way we can have a treasurer that we know is working for us and not their own personal ambition).