Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kansas ethics commission levies $150 fine against Rep. Gregory for using state email account to solicit funds

October 26, 2011

— State ethics officials on Wednesday fined Rep. TerriLois Gregory, R-Baldwin City, $150 for requesting campaign contributions in an email she sent from her state account on a state-issued computer.

During a hearing before the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, Gregory, who faced a maximum fine of $5,000, said her mistake was inadvertent.

After the fine was levied, she issued a prepared statement, saying, “In the future, I will use every precaution to ensure these errors are not made again.”

She said during the hearing that when she sent the email, she was tired and in a hurry.

She said she was “a quarter-inch off” on a drop-down menu and sent the email on her state account rather than her personal account.

Gregory said she subsequently found out she couldn’t even use her state computer to send emails on a personal account.

State law prohibits office holders from using state equipment for campaign purposes.

The dispute stemmed from a July newsletter from Gregory that touched on several major state issues.

Under the heading “How do we continue?”, Gregory, in her first term, asked for campaign contributions for her 2012 re-election campaign. She asked for contributions ranging from $5 to $500 with a goal of raising $20,000 by Aug. 25.

“Unless you like more taxes, more debt and more regulation, I need to stay in office and hold strong a defensive fiscal line for Kansas,” she said. She included instructions on whom to make checks out to and where to send them.

The newsletter was sent from her state House email account. The complaint was filed by the Kansas Democratic Party.

On Wednesday, she said the email was sent to about 200 people. When asked if she raised any funds from the solicitation, she said she didn’t think so. Commissioners unanimously approved the $150 fine.

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