KS Rep files ethics complaint against fellow Republican

KS Rep. Randy Garber, of Sabetha, (left) on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, filed an ethics complaint against fellow Republican Rep. Dr. John Eplee, of Atchison (right) citing "concerns with Eplee's financial reports." (Photo credit: KS Legislature)

(KAIR)--One local area Kansas Legislator, who chose not to seek election this year to another term, has filed an ethics complaint against a fellow House Republican.

State Representative Randy Garber, who has long served the 62nd House District, filed the complaint Tuesday, with a release from the Sabetha Republican saying it "raises numerous questions about concerns" with the financial reports of Dr. John Eplee, of Atchison, who represents the state's 63rd District.

Garber, in the release emailed to MSC Radio News, said that "having served for 14-years and filed numerous reports," he has "noticed many things about Representative Eplee's reports that raise serious concerns."

Filing of the complaint, according to Garber, means it will require the State Department of Governmental Ethics Commission to investigate the complaint.

Key among the allegations listed in the complaint is that "it appears possible that [Eplee, who has filed to seek election to the 1st District Senate seat this year] is depositing campaign contributions meant for his House campaign in his Senate campaign account without the individual contributor's knowledge or intent."

The allegation is based on what the complaint says is Eplee's use of "the exact same name for his campaign for House of Representatives...as he does now for his [Senate campaign]," as well as what the complaint alleges to be an oddly timed, $40,0000 personal check from Eplee to his Senate campaign, and questions regarding the status of Eplee's campaign treasurer.

Eplee responded to the allegations in a Wednesday afternoon telephone conversation with MSC News, saying he suspects the complaint to be "politically motivated," adding that Garber, who is not seeking another term, is closely associated with State Senator Dennis Pyle, who holds the seat Eplee is seeking. Garber, according to online records, served as Treasurer for Pyle's unsuccessful 2022 run for Governor.

As for the allegations of misappropriating campaign funds, Eplee says, "all those checks were designated for the Senate campaign, not for the House campaign, so I think that'll be easily proven wrong. "

Later Wednesday afternoon, Eplee released the following statement:

"Rep. Garber has long been used by Sen. Pyle as a political pawn to do his dirty work, like when he served as the treasurer for his gubernatorial campaign, attacking Republicans and helping elect Laura Kelly. This is nothing more than political gamesmanship on the part of Dennis Pyle and perhaps if he focused more on delivering for northeast Kansas we would have tax reform right now. I have always and will always provide accurate and credible information to Kansas Governmental Ethics. I am happy to discuss any matters with them."

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