Monday, May 17, 2010

Chris Steineger won't confirm whether he hired disgraced Missouri lawmaker Mike Sager (updated)

Posted By on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 7:33 AM

click to enlarge Chris Steineger's Secretary of State campaign suffers another black eye.
  • Chris Steineger's Secretary of State campaign suffers another black eye.

Update (7:33 a.m. May 17): Last week, Kansas state Sen. Chris Steineger refused to confirm whether he'd hired disgraced Missouri lawmaker Mike Sager as his campaign finance director.

Sager's history would have been an odd choice to oversee Steineger's money in his campaign to become Kansas' chief election official. In January 2007, Sager  pleaded guilty to filing a false campaign report. He had been charged with writing $22,500 in checks from his campaign accounts to himself as well as making up a $50,000 personal loan.

Steineger did hire Sager. The KCK Democrat refused to speak with The Pitch last Thursday about Sager, dispatching a spokeswoman to dodge questions.

But in Steve Kraske's Kansas City Star Sunday column, Steineger admitted hiring ex-lawmaker Sager. Kraske wrote:

Steineger said he didn't know about Sager's past when he hired him, but dumped him a month ago when he found out.

Steineger's campaign is accused of breaking campaign finance rules for

soliciting campaign donations from lobbyists during the legislative

session and using money from his senate campaign to pay for polling for

his secretary of state run, a no-no.

"I stupidly paid for polling

out of that account," Steineger told Kraske.

That admission contradicted Steienger's

claim to the Topeka Capital-Journal in February that he had paid

for the polls out of his personal account.

"I have receipts," Steineger told the Cap-Journal. "I may or may

not choose to give them to you."



Steineger's hearing on those charges is scheduled for Tuesday

before the Kansas Governmental

Ethics Commission.

***

steinegerandsager.jpg
Screen

capture via Forward Kansas

The Cap-Journal

shows Kansas state Sen. Chris Steineger consulting with his campaign

fianance director, Mike Sager.

Original story (1:45 p.m. May 13): Kansas state Sen. Chris

Steineger is having some campaign finance woes in his bid to become

Kansas Secretary of State.

Steineger, a Democrat from Kansas

City, Kansas, has admitted

that his campaign sent out e-mails to lobbyists during the legislative

session. Steineger has also been accused of spending money that had

been donated to his senate campaign to pay for polling for his secretary

of state campaign (a mixing of funds that's not allowed; Steineger has

denied the charge, telling the Topeka Capital-Journal that he

had personally paid for the polling from his checking account

although the newspaper reported that Steineger's Senate finance report

showed a

payment to an Oregon telephone survey company).

The Steineger

campaign might have experience in campaign finance problems. The screen

cap above is a February 26 Cap-Journal story showing Steineger

talking with Mike Sager, identified as Steineger's "campaign

finance director."

The

Forward Kansas blog asked

today whether the Mike Sager in the photo is Mike Sager, the former

Democratic state representative from Lee's Summit who was accused

of

writing $22,500 in checks from his campaign accounts to

himself as well as making up a $50,000 personal loan.

Ex-state Rep.

Sager later pleaded guilty to intentionally

filing a false campaign report (he received a year of probation and had

to serve 10 hours of community service; the felony was dropped).

Ex-state

Rep. Sager was also fined

$9,000 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for spending campaign

contributions on personal items.

Steineger wouldn't speak

with The Pitch. His spokeswoman, Allison

Green, refused to confirm whether the Mike

Sager who worked for Steineger's campaign was the former Missouri

lawmaker.

"I can't confirm that," Green said. "I didn't hire

Mike Sager. Chris Steineger did. So I can't confirm that it's the same

one. You're going to have to call and talk to Mike Sager himself on

that."

Pressed on whether Steineger would confirm whether

it's the same Mike Sager, Green responded: "I can try and ask him."

Sager

is

no longer works for Steineger's campaign, Green said.

"He hasn't

for

about a month now," Green said.

Green wouldn't explain why Sager

is no longer with the campaign. 

"I'm not going to comment on

who or why anyone no

longer works for the campaign," Green said. "I don't want to get into

those issues."

Phone numbers listed to Sager in Lee's Summit were

disconnected.

Steineger's hearing before the Kansas Governmental

Ethics Commission is scheduled for May 18.

"We will comply with

whatever they decide is the proper procedure," Green said.

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