In Kansas, Candidate Runs Campaign, Fundraising out of Churches

In a memo to his campaign staff obtained by the Lawrence World-Journal, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is unsubtle about his strategy to engineer an effective re-election machine organized through churches:

[A] leaked memo shows how Kline has mixed religion and money as part of an aggressive strategy to raise campaign funds and win re-election.

“Get the pastor to invite 5 ‘money people,’ whom he knows can help,” Kline told his campaign staff in a detailed, four-page memo titled “church efforts.”

The anonymously leaked e-mail memo provides a rare, behind-the-scenes look at political fundraising and the methods the incumbent Republican is using as he faces Democratic challenger Paul Morrison, the Johnson County district attorney.

Kline is a frequent visitor to Kansas churches, often appearing as guest preacher. But the memo makes clear Kline is out to spread more than the Christian message when he takes the pulpit. And he wants to hit as many churches as possible:

“The Goal and Objective – numbers,” Kline wrote to campaign workers Bill Roche and Sylvia Chapman in the Aug. 8 e-mail. “Please try to get me in front of the largest crowds as we move through the remainder of the campaign schedule. Also, please maximize my presence in a community. Where possible, get additional churches involved. Am able to preach at several churches where service times are different.”

Kline made national headlines last year through his efforts to use a subpoena to access the records of women’s health clinics, an act he described as “a search for evidence of illegal late-term abortions and child rape.” (The Kansas Supreme Court eventually rejected his attempt.)

In the memo, Kline also provides detailed instructions to his staff on how to maximize his schedule and efforts to get more campaign funds.

“Goal is to walk away with contact information, money and volunteers and a committee in each church,” Kline wrote.