Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whose pursuit of voter restriction and anti-immigrant laws made him a leading light of the nativist movement, announced today that he will run for governor in 2018.
Kobach authored SB1070, the notorious “papers please” law in Arizona, which the Supreme Court found largely unconstitutional in 2012. Kobach has played a key role in the passage of many other nativist laws in cities and states around the country and remains a sought after adviser for anti-immigrant politicians.
Kobach’s connections to hate groups reaches back to 2004, when he first served as counsel to the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR’s leaders have historical ties to white supremacists and eugenicists and who have made numerous racist statements and was named a hate group by the SPLC in 2007.
As recently as 2015, Kobach was a featured speaker at a “writer’s workshop” organized by The Social Contract Press, a white nationalist publisher known for resurrecting the obscure racist novel Camp of the Saints. In March of this year, Kobach invited Austrian anti-Muslim activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff to a meeting in Topeka. Sabaditsch-Wolff was convicted of hate speech in her native country in 2011 and works closely with ACT For America, the largest anti-Muslim hate group in the United States.
President Trump recently named Kobach to co-chair to President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity. In response, SPLC President Richard Cohen released the following statement:
President Trump’s decision to appoint Kris Kobach to help lead a new commission to study voter fraud shows that the commission itself will be fraudulent — as was the president’s ludicrous claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him the popular vote in November.
The evidence is clear — and we all know — that voter fraud is virtually non-existent in our country.
The real threat to our democracy is voter suppression. Kobach is a longtime lawyer for far-right extremist groups with ties to white nationalists and is a leader in the movement to suppress the votes of minorities. He is unfit to serve in this capacity, and his appointment is nothing less than an outrage