Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A trail of campaign contributions has been documented by the pro-life group Operation Rescue that appears to connect the Wichita late-term abortionist who was accused of criminal charges, the district attorney who sought to have those charges dropped, and the judge who made that decision. Additional documentation appears to show the abortion doctor’s campaigning may even have helped the newly elected state Attorney General Paul Morrison.
“It is obvious from the documentation that the people involved with dismissing or not pursuing the Tiller criminal case all have political ties of some kind,” Troy Newman, Operation Rescue president, said. “There is a clear appearance of impropriety here that should be investigated.
“Paybacks for campaign favors should never be allowed to influence the prosecution of a criminal case,” he continued. “If that proves to be the situation here, it is something that needs to be exposed and dealt with so justice can move forward.”
“I presume the documents were obtained from a reliable source. In the event that this is true, they would speak for themselves,” Georgia Cole, a spokeswoman for Foulston’s office, told WND. But she said there would be no other comment provided on the issue.
Tiller had been the subject of a two-year investigation by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who lost the 2006 election to Morrison. At the close of his term, he finally obtained records that he had subpoenaed in 2004, and prepared 30 criminal counts against Tiller alleging illegal late-term abortions and improper medical diagnoses in support of those. Those counts were filed Dec. 21, 2006.
Kansas law doesn’t allow abortions past 22 weeks except in certain circumstances which must be verified by a second physician. The charges allege the abortions were beyond 22 weeks, and didn’t have the proper medical support.
Those counts, however, were dismissed within hours of their filing on Foulston’s request to Clark. Kline then turned the case over to a special prosecutor, Don McKinney, who submitted a request to the state Supreme Court for an order that the case be allowed to continue. However, even that effort by Kline failed, since Morrison fired McKinney immediately upon taking office, and a short time later successfully petitioned the state Supreme Court to dismiss McKinney’s request that the high court intervene in the case, according to Morrison’s spokeswoman, Ashley Anstaett.
In McKinney’s write of mandamus, he said Foulston and Clark “unlawfully usurped” the authority of Kline and the state legislature by improperly terminating the case.
“The judicial system of this state cannot function properly if loose cannon local prosecutors can hijack a case from the attorney general and then dismiss the charges to protect their friends or political allies,” McKinney told WND at the time. “Such extraordinary conduct destroys equal justice, interferes with the attorney general’s ranking position, and snubs the authority of the legislature to mandate prosecutions by the attorney general.”
The dismissal came despite the fact the investigation had been reviewed and approved by the state Supreme Court, and the counts themselves had been reviewed and approved by two separate Kansas judges.
And Newman noted said the “smoking gun” in the situation is that a former Tiller business associate, Ann Kristen Neuhaus, had been listed as a witness for the prosecution. “She was the person signing off on these abortions,” he noted.
Operation noted that this document “was missing” from Foulston’s file at the Sedgwick County Election Office and was obtained through another, unidentified source.
A second posting lists several pages of what appear to be “Schedule A” pages from Clark’s campaign contributions, and those include a $500 contribution by check from Steve and Nola Foulston, as well as a $500 check from the law firm Monnat and Spurrier. Dan Monnat was one of the lawyers who appeared representing Tiller when Kline originally filed the charges.
And a link to the Kansas Meadowlark, which describes itself as the KS Meadowlark Blog at Salina Journal, reveals documents supporting the allegation that Tiller may have contributed to a lobbying group that shared the same address as his ProKanDo campaign platform, and that group’s efforts were in aid of Morrison’s campaign for attorney general.
The organization “Kansans for Consumer Privacy” shared the identical address of Tiller’s ProKanDo PAC, and sent out a series of mailings during the 2006 cycle, attacking Kline’s competency and intentions, as reported by the website as well as by the Lawrence Journal World.
Anstaett said she could only speak to the issue of the “third-party” contributions to the campaign, the mailers paid for by the group sharing the address of Tiller’s ProKanDo PAC. Those, she said, she wouldn’t view as helping Morrison when they attacked his election opponent, Kline.
“We didn’t accept money from any of that industry,” she told WND, describing the mailings as “third-party” expenditures in the campaign.
The Meadowlark site also documents how Morrison lobbied for the county commissioners in Johnson County to lower their proposed salary for Kline, who was appointed to replace Morrison as Johnson County DA when Morrison moved to the state AG office to replace Kline.
A letter posted there has Morrison telling the commissioners: “My understanding is that you are only required to pay the next district attorney $114,000, but without action by the County Commission you will start Mr. Kline at a salary of $143,000. To pay someone who has shockingly little experience such a salary is inappropriate and fiscally irresponsible,” the letter on the letterhead of the Johnson County district attorney’s office said.
The issue of the investigation, charges and their dismissal also have been discussed by WND columnist Jack Cashill, as well as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly had presented a series of programs about the Tiller clinic, and then concluded: “You know, I’ve been covering the news in American for 30 years and this Kansas situation is the worst thing I’ve ever seen … Americans cannot turn away from this; cannot ignore it. There should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita.”
That resulted in the “Cry for Justice” protests in January, and when they were over, Newman told WND that the issue was “far from over.”
“Viable babies who should have the protection of Kansas law continue to be illegally killed at George R. Tiller’s infamous late-term abortion mill. We must continue to seek justice, as our Christian faith demands, as long as this gross injustice continues.”
During the January event, Foulston declined requests to meet with the protesters, and in fact sent a letter to them saying if they tried to “influence” her decision their actions could be considered criminal conduct.
“Operation Rescue has attempted to ‘petition the government for a redress of grievances,’ a right protected by the First Amendment, but was notified last week that such action could violate a Kansas law,” Operation Rescue said.
Pro-life activists from OR and several other organizations said they would seek a federal investigation into the Kansas handling of the case.
But Anstaett told WND that the attorney general’s office has assigned a lawyer to review the evidence Kline prepared against Tiller. “We are still currently evaluating the case. We have all the documents,” she told WND. But she declined to reveal the name of the lawyer reviewing the case.
Newman said the May 17-20 event is being left “open-ended” for now because plans still are developing. The earlier event also involved leaders from the Christian Defense Coalition as well as the Center for Reclaiming America.