FactFinder 12: Ad claims Senate candidate Kobach has ties to white nationalists

FactFinder 12 checks out claims that Kris Kobach has ties to white nationalists.
FactFinder 12 checks out claims that Kris Kobach has ties to white nationalists.(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 5:26 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:21 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - You may have noticed a new ad running on TV claiming former Secretary of State Kris Kobach accepted money from white nationalists.

It’s one of many campaign ads you’ve seen running here in Kansas as Republicans battle to fill Pat Roberts’ Senate seat.

“Kris Kobach, failed candidate for Governor now wants to be our U.S. Senator,” the ad says.

It’s paid for by the Plains Political Action Committee, which claims Kobach has ties to white nationalists.

“Kobach’s Senate Campaign paid a man who regularly posted hateful comments about Jews and racial minorities on a white nationalist website,” the ad claims, adding, “In fact this same white nationalist filed the paperwork that registered Kobach’s current Senate Campaign in Kansas.”

The ad cites the Topeka Capital Journal and the Kansas City Star in that claim. The Kansas City Star did report an Olathe man was paid $500 by Kobach’s Senate Campaign for field services.

The report also found the man, Joe Suber, did file the paperwork initiating Kobach’s campaign, and does have a history of making racist comments online.

In response to this claim, Kobach’s campaign offered this statement:

“Last October, when we discovered that an independent contractor had in the past posted statements supporting that garbage, the campaign immediately severed ties with him.”

The ad continues with another claim, stating “The same Kris Kobach who has ties to white nationalists.”

This claim is a little more in depth. The text on screen says Kobach accepted thousands of dollars from white nationalists.

Here’s how Kobach’s campaign responded to that claim:

“The campaign contributions the attack ad refers to are from the Immigration Reform PAC, a pro-ICE group that advocated for border security.”

The Immigration Reform PAC has, for years, received contributions from Dr. John Tanton, who is now deceased.

Tanter was the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which was often referred to in reports as white nationalist. Though, on his website, he only spoke of controlling the level of immigration in the U.S.

This may be what the Plains PAC is using to support the claim. But, records from the Kansas Secretary of State say Kobach received a $2,000 contribution from a man named Ian Smith. Smith resigned from the Department of Homeland Security after leaked emails containing racial slurs showed ties between him and white nationalists.

The Plains PAC, which was responsible for the ad, was formed on July 1 and has already booked millions in advertisements leading up to the GOP Primary.

Watch for FactFinder 12 to check out all of the ads leading up to the election in August and beyond.

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