State Sen. Terrie Huntington, one of the eight moderates targeted for defeat in this summer’s primaries by conservative factions of the state Republican party, is vigorously fighting allegations of mail tampering made by a group trying to eliminate income taxes in the state.
An article in the Topeka Capital Journal Friday carried accusations by Kansans for No Income Tax suggesting that Huntington had gone to an Overland Park post office and requested materials that had been sent to a box reserved by the group.
“We were trying to express our First Amendment right,” said Ashley McMillan, who leads Kansans for No Income Tax. “She wanted to hamper it.”
McMillan, an experienced political operative, worked closely with the Brownback campaign in the lead up to his election as governor and served as the executive director of the state Republican party during the 2010 election cycle.
But Huntington denies any attempt to access mail that wasn’t hers — and says if there was any wrongdoing, it was on the part of Kansans for No Income Tax, which sent out a flier she believes was intended to mislead her constituents (we haven’t been able to get our hands on a
copy of the mailer yet — if you’ve received anything from Kansans for No Income Tax in the mail, let us know).
Here’s Huntington’s take on the situation, sent to us via email:
Some of my constituents told me they had mailed postcards to me. When I didn’t receive anything in the mail, I called my post office to inquire. They referred me to the area Postal Inspector, who referred me to a branch office in Overland Park. I called that branch to inquire, and the postmaster said she would check into it. went to that branch, the postmaster was not there, and the clerk indicated to me that they had postcards with my name on them, but that they were addressed to someone else’s PO Box. I was told no cards had been put into the box. I left my business card so that the postmaster, with whom I had spoken previously, would have my phone number, and also so that they would know I was not misrepresenting myself — I was the person whose name was on the postcard. It is my understanding that the postal inspector is looking into the group’s mailing because of the misleading nature of the cards, but I have not been contacted as to their determination.
However, at no time did I try to obtain someone else’s mail, or access someone’s mailbox.
I am aware that a special interest group tied to other states targeted neighborhoods of other Senators with a mailing. I do not know if it was the same mailing. But, my constituents think the group misrepresented their intent by making them think Dist. 7 constituents were contacting me when, in reality, the group was building its own database with constituents’ information. The bottom line, many of my constituents feel deceived.
This is really about honesty and integrity. This organization misled constituents to believe they were contacting me directly when, in fact, they were not. Kansans don’t want to see Washington-style politics come into our state and try to deceive voters. Unfortunately, this is just another example of the deceptive tactics some Washington insiders and special interest groups like to use.