We haven't heard much from continual screw-up and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach of late, which is probably bad news for him because he's running to be the state's next attorney general. His day job, however, continues to be bad lawyering for terrible causes, and The Kansas City Star has a pretty comprehensive read on Kobach's continued work for one particular terrible client: "We Build the Wall," the so-called nonprofit group promising to build a wall along the nation's southern border that was busted by federal prosecutors only weeks after Trump's reelection loss as an alleged self-enrichment scheme by the group's leaders.
The most famous of those leaders was Trump ally Steve Bannon, who scored a last-minute pardon from Trump for his own part in the fraud. Bannon was able to skate free of prosecution, but founder Brian Kolfage is still charged with money laundering and other crimes. The group's remaining funds, in the meantime, remain frozen, and that's what Kris Kobach, lifelong thumper for any anti-immigrant or white nationalist cause you can name, has been trying to fix ever since.
Kobach is still general counsel and a director of We Build the Wall, but he wasn't one of the people criminally charged—which is why he was able to remain the group's lawyer. Rather than ditching the group after it was exposed as a money-laundering scheme that tricked the Republican base into thinking they were building a "wall" when they were actually just putting cash into the fraudsters' pockets, he's ... not done that. Nope, he's hanging in there.
If you're thinking that this is because Kobach is just that devoted to the shady group's stated purpose or to some other conservative principle involved here, prepare to be disappointed. As spelled out by the Star, the main issue at stake appears to be the $75,000 We Build the Wall owed to Kobach when the group's funds were frozen—bills due as a result of Kobach's $25,000-per-month contract with the group. When the funds were frozen, in 2020, Kobach didn't get paid.
Kobach, in other words, wants his damn money. And whether or not that money was raised by defrauding his fellow Republican racists doesn't enter the picture. (Kobach also used the group for his own dubiously legal fundraising schemes, because of course he did.)
The Star reports that Kobach has gone so far as to ask the Actual Supreme Court to reach down and release the group's funds, a move that would appear to have zero possible chance of success until you remember that the current 6-3 court has been quite aggressive in enabling crackpot schemes hatched by far-right legal zealots. It's still not likely, however.
In the meantime, it looks like Kobach won't be getting his money until after the case against We Build the Wall's founders is resolved. It seems a bit of a gamble; the courts could well order that all the frozen money go back to victims, leaving him with nothing, or the courts could authorize him to pull out not just owed legal fees but legal fees for all his "representing" in the year-plus he's stuck around.
Probably the best course of action as a Kansas attorney general candidate would be to wash his hands of the whole thing, accept that he won't be getting his $75,000, and tell voters that it's very unfortunate that the group turned out to be a big-money grift but he had nothing to do with it and super-disavows all the flimflammery that happened. But this is Kris Kobach we're talking about, and the Trump Republican Party we're talking about, and the grift that Donald Dear Leader Trump personally put his stamp of approval on, in making sure that Steve Bannon would get away free and clear, so it's just as possible he'll campaign with a promise that under his leadership, all Kansas Republicans will be able to swindle the base for however much money they want to, because freedom.
The current Republican base has at no point had any issue with people scamming them, after all. From Trump to Alex Jones to every last purveyor of apocalypse survival buckets, the base appears to believe that people who successfully get away with scams are precisely the sort of smarter-than-us leaders the movement needs to scam, well, everybody else.
Still, though, the idea that Kris Kobach, the guy who keeps landing himself in deep trouble with judges who have responded with everything from fines and contempt charges to orders that he attend remedial lawyering school, would be put in charge of the state's attorney general's office? The guy with a history of costing his state and other states bucketfuls of money in his own preferred scam: pushing clearly unconstitutional laws so that he can get himself some sweet, sweet publicity defending them before courts strike them down?
It could happen—and he still wouldn't be the worst or crookedest Republican attorney general in the nation. The Texas attorney general has been under criminal indictment for years and the guy still remains both in place and popular with the fascist rabble.
Kris Kobach's new plan to run for Kansas attorney general shows that Republicans have no new ideas
Fraud expert Kris Kobach claimed to have a device to ‘kill COVID’ but experts say nah
Judge humiliates Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, orders him to take remedial law classes
Looks like Kansas' Kris Kobach is illegally using nonprofit border group to raise campaign funds
Kris Kobach (KS-SoS) revealed as a charlatan by investigative journalists