At the Topeka Capital-Journal, it’s almost like 1986 again.
But this time instead of Al Capone’s vault, some intrepid Geraldo Rivera’s on a laborious if ill-fated excavation of Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach’s personal email, which he’s been (raise suspicious eyebrow here) using for state business.
What could possibly be in those emails? The CJ baited us with the titillating front page Japs-Bomb-Pearl-Harbor-sized headline last Sunday: “Kris Kobach leans on private emails.” Something lurid? Something corrupt? Something (gasp) Pro-Life? Some long-buried evidence definitively linking the attorney general to the formulaic debacle of New Coke?
Turns out the message hidden deep in the digital bits and bytes of those emails was even more diabolical, the newspaper discovered. Cleverly hop-scotching between his official state email and his own private account, Kobach is pursuing a dastardly plan to fight fentanyl’s murderous impact in Kansas; to thwart human trafficking in the state and to fight illegal immigration across our borders – something Joe Biden is supposed to be doing between naps.
Because if you think that fentanyl, trafficking of human beings and illegal immigration aren’t Kansas problems and aren’t all interrelated, you’re worse than wrong – you’re probably a regular Capital-Journal reader.
Instead of some damning evidence of malfeasance illuminated by the CJ’s 4,100 word fishing expedition aimed at Kansas liberal media’s favorite and most resilient Republican target, the result was a double-patty nothing burger – the equivalent of “My boss spent $209.13 on an open records request and weeks of staff time trying to hang Kris Kobach, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
Indeed, the buzz kill in the CJ newsroom must have been like bringing in ice for the Christmas party bar and then realizing it’s only the middle of August. Newspaper staffers caught a tip from some Nebraska correspondence on a private email belonging to the attorney general and were convinced they’d stumbled onto the Enigma code. Kobach’s office turned over nearly 1,000 pages of his emails in response to an open records request which were copiously poured over by CJ staff in search of some smoking gun. What they discovered was that Kobach apparently really believes in what he’s spent his career doing – and that his dry cleaner offers a 2-fer deal on Wednesdays.
This kind of scrutiny is of course nothing new for Kobach, who’s been harangued by media and sandal-wearing Lawrence anarchists for much of the past 20 years of his political and professional life. Both as a law professor and as an elected official, Kobach’s had the audacity to suggest people should follow the laws of the United States and Kansas; that they should actually have some identification if they want to vote in an election, and that they shouldn’t enter the country illegally. He also ascribes to the archaic notion that women shouldn’t kill their babies in the womb. Most of all, he was unapologetic about that cool Rat Patrol-style jeep with the fake machine gun mounted in it that he rode in when he ran for governor in 2018.
I mean, who does this guy think he is?
These cardinal sins against the Leftists trying to turn America into George Soros’ pool house have put Kobach on their 10 Most Unwanted list, and made the liberal media’s mouth water at the prospect of catching him reusing a postage stamp or double-parking at Hy-Vee.
The CapJourn’s article of course doesn’t claim Kobach bouncing emails between his official and personal accounts is illegal – because it isn’t – they just shame him for his correspondence lacking Fort Knox-style security. Kind of like being guilt-bombed for not getting your kid the Covid vax, or letting him eat Mac & Cheese. The newspaper’s attempt to rake muck ended up with barely a hair in the soup. Okay, we should all be better about wearing our seatbelts and those geeky bicycle helmets; but c’mon…4,100 words?
Instead, the most important thing to come out of the opus is the importance of the issues Kobach emails about. Combating and prosecuting dealers of a drug that’s 50 times more addictive than heroin and whose annual overdose deaths jumped 30 percent since the onset of Covid is important; stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the country and into Kansas is important. Making sure voters and elections are legitimate is important. Stopping organized theft of retail goods aimed for sale online is important.
Al Capone’s famous vault held nothing but old bottles and dust. The Capital-Journal found something completely unexpected in the nothingness.
Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.