From the Offices of House Democratic Legislative Leaders Sen. Anthony Hensley and Rep. Paul Davis:

O’Neal votes for fee sweeps, contradicts himself

Republican House Speaker voted for nearly 40 fee fund sweeps from 2002-2010

TOPEKA – Today, Kansas Speaker of the House Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, voted in favor of a $5 million fee fund sweep from the Investor Education Fund of the Securities Commissioner, which was included in the FY 2010 rescission bill.

O’Neal’s legislative voting record indicates that he supported nearly 40 fee fund sweeps between 2002 and 2010.

In 2002, O’Neal voted for a total of 24 fee sweeps, including $1.7 million from the State Fire Marshal Fee Fund and more than $1 million from the Kansas Highway Patrol Motor Vehicle Fund.  In 2004, he voted in favor of a $150,000 Service Regulation Fund.  He again voted in favor of eight fee sweep measures in 2005, including $1 million each from the Kansas Highway Patrol and the Emergency Medical Services Board.  In 2006, O’Neal voted to sweep $2 million from the Department of Education and in 2007 he voted for three fee sweep measures, including $1.25 million from the Investor Education Fund in the Securities Commissioner’s Office.

“Mike O’Neal’s special interest lawsuit hinges on his dissenting vote of a $2 million fee sweep from the Workers Compensation Fund in 2009.  Yet in 2002, he voted to sweep three times that much –$7 million – from the exact same fund,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.  “If the Speaker’s involvement in the case is based purely on what he feels to be an unconstitutional appropriation, why hasn’t he always voted in accordance with this belief?  It only raises more questions about the extent to which Rep. O’Neal intertwines his power as Speaker with his private law practice.”

In an e-mail to members of the House Republican Caucus this week, O’Neal attempted to justify his decision to be the attorney for a group of special interests suing the State of Kansas.  In the e-mail, O’Neal said “prior case law considers this practice of sweeping funds to be an unconstitutional tax, a practice I have been criticizing since back in 2001-2002…” 

“Mike O’Neal is deceiving his clients and his constituents by claiming to oppose fee sweeps which he has clearly supported in the past,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka.  “I have no doubt that Mike is using his position as Speaker of the House to personally profit from this lawsuit, even if it means misrepresenting his voting record.  Clearly, Mike O’Neal’s loyalties lie with his special interest clients, not the people of Kansas.”

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*Click here to view a comprehensive list of specific fee sweeps supported by Speaker Mike O’Neal from 2002-2010.