Holub favors probe of campaign gifts

Marion County Commis?sioner Dan Holub said Friday he will press for the Kansas Secretary of State to investigate legislative campaign contributions on behalf of the six counties involved in trying to halt a 10-year Kansas tax exemption for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.

Holub said he also will push for the six counties to get a court injunction to halt the exemption if they aren?t successful in stopping it in the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals.

He added that he will push for the investigation into campaign contributions even if repeal of the tax exemption is granted.

Responding to questions at a Marion County Commission election canvass meeting, Holub said he isn?t making accusations against anyone. But, he said, he can?t understand why none of the legislators that county commissioners had asked for information or help over the last year ever responded, except for Rep. Bob Brookens.

?It seems peculiar,? Holub said. ?Where are their interests? They do get to keep campaign donations that they never spend when they retire. There has to be a reason. I?d like to ask these guys why they?ve done it this way. Something is rotten here.

?Nobody anywhere at the state level wants to respond to us except Brookens,? Holub added. ?This represents $35 million annually in taxes to the six counties and millions more to the state of Kansas.

?But when people up there get next to this kind of money, look what happens.?

Holub said Keystone spokes?man Jim Prescott has said Keystone never asked for an exemption, although the company did file for one Nov. 1.

Holub quoted Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal, as saying the exemption was his idea, and he presented because he thought it would be good for the state.

But Holub said there never was any question that the pipeline transporting oil sands from Alberta would cross anywhere but Kansas to get to a refinery in Cushing, Okla.

Now there are suggestions that a second pipeline carrying Canadian natural gas will be built on the same route, Holub said.

?I?m not mad at Keystone over this,? Holub said. ?They?ve done everything they should here in putting the pipeline here. They?ve done right by us.

?But it alarms me that we have 100 percent agreement by the state that this should happen while 144,000 people in these six counties are getting fleeced. I know the lieutenant governor knows about it, so I suppose the governor knows, too.

?How do we know there isn?t another 10-year exemption coming after this 10 years is up? There?s no economic leg for this to stand on. We can?t stand by and let it happen.?

With the tax exemption in place, Holub questioned the real economic benefit of the project for the county.

?Key?stone paid the landowners to cross the county, they?re paying us for the roads they damaged. Other than that we sold the workers some sandwiches and gas,? he said.

Besides Marion County, the counties involved are Butler, Clay, Cowley, Dickinson and Washington.

Asked for his position on the issue, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said he would have no comment at this time.

Commissioner Bob Hein was absent from this meeting, but has voiced support for Holub?s stand in the past.

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