Analysis — On annual Kansas Days, new questions create new doubts for Kansas Republicans in the leadership of Amanda Adkins’ state party

When Amanda Adkins was elected a year ago to the top position of Kansas Republican Party chair, she went unchallenged, and there was some degree of enthusiasm and optimism.   While few knew Adkins personally, there was a large amount of trust placed in her, due to the knowledge that she was “Brownback’s choice.”  Brownback’s preference in Adkins — a former campaign manager for Brownback — had never been clearly, publicly stated, but this was the unsaid conventional wisdom among Republican activists.

Today, much of that trust and optimism in Adkins is gone.

Yes, it is clearer than ever that Brownback will not only win the governor’s race in 2010, but that he is unlikely to even face a top-tier Democratic challenger.  But conservatives, who make up about 2/3 of Republican voters, have never distrusted Brownback more.  Adkins, through her close connections to Brownback, has received some of the blow-back from conservatives.

But Adkins shares some of the blame.  One of her first decisions was the hiring of the state executive director, and she chose another Brownback loyalist, Cici Rojas.  In recent years, Rojas had lived in Texas, had ties to human-cloning activists at the Stowers Institute, and had submitted a Kansas City Star letter to the editor in which Rojas praised the open-borders group La Raza — a group whose name literally means “the race” and which recklessly labels as “racists” Americans who wish to enforce the nation’s borders — and in which Rojas complimented Democrats Emmanuel Cleaver and Kay Barnes.  From the get-go, Rojas left Republicans scratching their heads.

On January 25, the public learned that Rojas will be resigning her position, and it’s known that the party has very little money on hand.

Recently, a source provided The Kansas Progress with information that party activists, many for the first time, are expected to learn today at the annual “Kansas Days” celebrations in Topeka.

Of the two, the most serious criticism is this:  according to our source, executive director Cici Rojas is both an inactive and an unaffiliated voter.  Our source says this information was confirmed as accurate by the Wyandotte County election office on January 14, 2010.  Arguably, it matters little whether Rojas was an active and registered-as-”Republican” Kansas voter prior to being installed as the top party employee.  But it will matter to many GOP delegates that, as it appears to be the case, Rojas did not change her party affiliation and did not begin voting on a regular basis after being hired.

Our source also provided documentation that suggests GOP Chairwoman Adkins played a leading role in the “bundling” of a $5,000 contribution to Democratic Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore from Adkins’ employer, Cerner.  Her name is listed, but with the address of Cerner.  This was done in late 2008, prior to her appointment as party chair.

Unknown to our source: a) why Adkins needed to put the donation in her own name, as it is on FEC records, rather than under Cerner’s; b) what role Adkins played in the gathering of contribution(s), if any; c) whether Adkins could have easily declined to play a role in the contribution; and d) why there was insufficient disclosure on the part of Adkins, to the Republican delegates who elected her.

For both of these issues, perhaps the most frustrating issue for party activists will be the lack of disclosure, and that Adkins and Rojas did not voluntary disclose this information.

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