Kansas Lawmaker Touts Ability To Help New Employer From His Elected Position

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December 11, 2015 3:33 p.m.

Kansas Republican state Rep. Steve Brunk this month accepted a job with a nonprofit group that opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. But Brunk is planning on keeping his legislative seat, and he has been pretty open about his ability to act as an incredibly effective advocate for his new employer while continuing as a state representative.

The group, the Kansas Family Policy Council, has announced Brunk’s hire, even though the lawmaker himself claims he has yet to make a decision. But he was very candid with the Wichita Eagle about the amount of influence he could have as a representative of the Family Policy Council and as a lawmaker, even though state law does not allow elected representatives to also work as lobbyists.

“I have just so many options that I’m considering right now,” he told the Wichita Eagle. “One of them is a nonprofit has approached me, but that doesn’t mean necessarily that you’re leaving the Legislature.”

“One of the things that they want to do is impact legislation and so how better to do that than to have the person who handles all of that legislation actually be in the Legislature and actually be chairman of the committee?” he continued.

In a Dec. 2 letter obtained by the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas Family Policy Council announced that it had hired Brunk as the group’s executive director. The letter notes that “hiring Steve could not have come at a better time. This next legislative term is lining up to be a challenging one. Those opposed to our values are actively promoting legislation that undermines our religious freedom – at work, in our children’s schools and in the public square.”

Brunk serves as the chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee and worked on a bill this year placing restrictions on a type of abortion performed in the second trimester, according to the Wichita Eagle.

The Republican lawmaker told the Wichita Eagle on Friday that his position with the Kansas Family Policy Council was not yet set in stone, despite the letter, and insisted that he would not be lobbying as the group’s executive director.

“I am not a lobbyist,” he said. “I already said that I was likely going to be working with a nonprofit. …It’s a policy arm of Focus on the Family, and I’m helping them as a director, not as a lobbyist.”

“In time if I continue to do this I might hire a lobbyist. I might hire someone to be a policy director, but I’m not helping them in that capacity,” he continued, adding that he won’t make a final decision on the position until January.

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