By Ethan Cohen, CNN
The Federal Election Commission has levied a $30,000 fine on incoming Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach and a private border wall organization he was once affiliated with due to campaign finance violations committed during his unsuccessful 2020 Senate bid.
In an agreement approved by the FEC last month, about a week after Kobach was elected, he admitted to illegally accepting an in-kind contribution from We Build the Wall, a Steve Bannon-linked group which ran a fundraising campaign to build a private border wall but became ensnarled in allegations of fraud.
CNN has reached out to attorneys for Kobach and We Build the Wall for comment.
In 2019, Kobach’s campaign rented We Build the Wall’s 295,000-person email list for just $2,000, a price significantly below the normal rate.
The campaign was also accused of additional campaign finance violations in connection with We Build the Wall, but the FEC, which is made up of three Democrats and three Republicans, either dismissed those allegations or was equally divided.
Kobach is an immigration hardliner and a longtime spreader of false election claims who served as Kansas’ secretary of state from 2011 to 2019 and has close ties to former President Donald Trump.
Kobach was narrowly elected Kansas attorney general in November, defeating Democrat Chris Mann 51% to 49% in the reliably red state. His victory came after two consecutive defeats in recent election cycles — losing bids for the governorship in 2018 and for the GOP nomination for US Senate in 2020.
He previously served on We Build the Wall’s board and as the organization’s general counsel.
Two men have pleaded guilty in federal court, and another was convicted of defrauding donors in connection with We Build The Wall. Bannon and the organization itself are now facing charges in New York state. Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty to state charges, had previously been indicted in federal court but was pardoned by then-President Trump at the end of his term.
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