Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Tuesday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Kris Kobach is improperly getting a financial benefit by serving as vice chairman of the Trump administration's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
According to the complaint, Kobach has been paid for writing columns for Breitbart News. One of those was written in his official capacity with the election commission, which alleged serious voter fraud in New Hampshire.
CREW said Kobach, who is also secretary of state for Kansas, incorporated one of his columns into a election commission meeting in New Hampshire. At the bottom of the column, his short bio noted his role with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.
"Because Secretary Kobach agreed with Breitbart News to write a column for official commission use, knowing he would be paid for the column, he appears to have participated in a particular matter in which he had a financial interest, conduct that may have violated 18 USC 208," CREW wrote.
“The official actions of government employees should be free from any actual or apparent influence from outside financial interests,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “Secretary Kobach’s conduct, however, appears to undermine that principle, and should be investigated to determine if it violated the federal conflict of interest statute.”
The violation, CREW alleges, would be of U.S. Code 208, which is a “criminal conflict of interest statute that prohibits an executive branch employee, including a special government employee, from participating personally and substantially in any particular government matter that will have a direct predictable effect on his financial interest or any financial interest imputed to him.”
The Justice Department could pursue a civil action against someone who violates this statute, the CREW complaint said.