‘…another example of his passion causing him to exceed ethical bounds’

'...another example of his passion causing him to exceed ethical bounds'
'...another example of his passion causing him to exceed ethical bounds'
Associated Press

Back in February, TRMS went to Topeka, Kansas, for the opening day of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline’s disciplinary hearing. Kline was being charged with ethics violations for the way he conducted investigations into abortion providers in the state including the late Dr. George Tiller.

Yesterday a three-member panel for the state’s disciplinary board recommended Mr. Kline’s law license be indefinitely suspended. Here’s a quick summary of the panel’s report from the Associated Press:

The three-member panel of the state Board for Discipline of Attorneys said Kline repeatedly misled other officials or allowed subordinates to mislead others, including a Kansas City-area grand jury, to further investigations of abortion providers. The panel also said Kline made a false statement to the office investigating the misconduct claims against him and even attempted to mislead the panel itself as it considered his case.

If you want to take a look at how the panel came down on each of the charges against Kline, here’s their full report (the details on which charges, specifically, they found to be ethical violations and why starts on page 142). In explaining how they came to their recommendation that he should be disciplined, the panel noted in Kline a “passion causing him to exceed ethical bounds.” They also concluded that Kline “engaged in a pattern of misconduct” and that he was “motivated by dishonesty and selfishness.”

[Kline] provided false information to courts and counsel. … Because much of [Kline’s] misconduct involved engaging in conduct that involves dishonesty, the Hearing Panel concludes that [Kline’s] misconduct was motivated by dishonesty and selfishness. … [Kline] repeatedly attached confidential or sealed documents to public pleadings. [Kline] repeatedly provided false or deceptive information to courts and counsel.

According to the panel’s report, Kline’s license to practice law in Kansas is already suspended because he didn’t pay his annual registration fee.

Specifically, [Kline] stated that, “I didn’t pay my fee… . I didn’t want to send you money. I’m sorry. I don’t believe I should be here and I didn’t want to send you money.” The Respondent testified that it was his choice not to pay his fee. … The Respondent does not intend to practice law in Kansas again. 

In a statement to the Associated Press, Kline said, “I upheld my duty, upheld my oath of office and the integrity of my profession. I will continue to speak and stand for the truth and for those who cannot speak for themselves. My ‘mistake’ was my willingness to investigate politically powerful people and to let that investigation go where the evidence led.”