In this May 3, 2010 photo, attorney Kris Kobach poses for a photo in Kansas City, Mo.
Ed Zurga/AP Photo

A blast from an unpleasant past

In Kansas, Republican officials find themselves in the unusual position of trying to keep a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate on the ballot, even though he’s eager to withdraw. Democratic candidate Chad Taylor has tried to drop out of the race against Sen. Pat Roberts (R), leaving the incumbent to take on Independent Greg Orman, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has stood in the way, objecting to Taylor’s paperwork. The case went before the Kansas Supreme Court today.
 
But take a look at who’s siding with the controversial Republican Secretary of State.
One of the officials at the center of the Bush administration’s U.S. attorneys scandal is helping to author briefs for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the lawsuit that could help determine one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country.
 
Bradley Schlozman, who stepped down from the Justice Department in 2007 amid controversy and is now an attorney practicing in Wichita, Kansas, is one of the signatories of a new brief from Kobach’s office.
Who’s Bradley Schlozman? As an msnbc report noted in March, “During the George W. Bush administration, an internal Justice Department report found Bush appointees had attempted to purge the division of liberals, or as one Bush appointee Bradley Schlozman put it, ‘adherents of Mao’s little red book.’ The report found that Schlozman, who had vowed to ‘gerrymander’ all those ‘crazy libs’ out of the division, replacing them with Republican loyalists, had violated civil service laws with his hiring practices.”
 
Folks who go way back with me may recall that Schlozman was actually at the heart of two separate Bush-era scandals. The first was Schlozman’s decision as the former U.S. Attorney for Kansas City, to bring highly dubious indictments against a voter-registration group shortly before the 2006 midterm elections. That one got quite messy.
 
The other was Schlozman’s work in the Bush/Cheney Justice Department, where he swore his employment decisions were entirely above-board, and not at all based on political considerations, though ample evidence pointed in the opposite direction. Indeed, Schlozman reportedly took an interest in the partisan “loyalties” of Justice Department attorneys whose work had nothing to do with politics.
 
And now, here he is again, this time trying to give Kris Kobach a hand.
 
In the larger context, pause for a moment to consider what the current political landscape would look like if President Obama’s Justice Department, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, set out to identify conservatives, force them out, and replace them with liberals – in order to “make room for some good Americans.”
 
Imagine how big a scandal that would be. And yet, this actually happened in the Bush/Cheney administration, just seven years ago, though few seem to remember it.
 
As for today’s developments, the Kansas City Star had a good report on the oral arguments at the Kansas Supreme Court.
 

Kansas and Kris Kobach

A blast from an unpleasant past