The Smoky Hill Gang: The Consultants of the KDP Executive Committee

Note - All disclosures cited herein are linked at the bottom of this post.


Public disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Governmental Ethics Commission (GEC) substantiate that, at least, four (4) other current members of the Executive Committee have acted as paid consultants to Democratic party committees and candidate committees across Kansas within the past year. 

  • Tom Witt - Tom Witt, the Progressive Caucus Chair (as well as Platform Chair and Budget & Finance Chair) has collected at least $58,843 over the last year while serving on the KDP's Executive Committee. Mr. Witt received disbursements to entities with the trade names Smoky Hills Strategies and BNV Printing or variants thereof. 
  • Ryon Carey - LGBT Caucus Chair Ryon Carey has earned at least $163,695 while serving on the KDP's Executive Committee (which included an appearance on an Independent candidate's finance report). Mr. Carey received disbursements to entities with the trade names Smoky Hills Strategies, BNV Printing, Swing Vote Media and Post Rock Partners, Inc. or variants of those trade names.
  • Chris Reeves - Chris Reeves, the DNC Man from Kansas has received $76,500 while serving on the KDP's Executive Committee. Mr. Reeves received disbursements to, at least, Smoky Hills Strategies, BNV Printing, and as an individual consultant.
  • Jim Ward - Before he was the House Democratic Leader,  Rep. Ward received $5,000 from the Kansas Democratic Party for Design and Printing Consultant services as an individual consultant.   

Three of those four Executive Committee members (Witt, Carey, Reeves) were members of the Executive Committee at the time they acted as consultants.

Unsurprisingly, they are also some of the strongest supporters of the recall petition against KDP Secretary Casey Yingling. In promoting the recall petition, those actors have painted a narrative of trading on insider information and conflict of interest without evidence or substantiation, because character assassination and projection are part of their dark arts playbook. 

Smoky Hills Strategies - $124,897

Tracking the Money Web of the Smoky Hill Gang

Using database queries, we were able to narrow disbursements made on consolidated FEC and GEC public disclosures over a one-year look-back period for Smoky Hill Strategies, and we were able to identify more than $124,000 in payments made to KDP Executive Committee members Tom Witt, Ryon Carey and Chris Reeves.

After reviewing the addresses for those disclosures, we identified three main addresses that were used on the public disclosures for the past year. PDF available here

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The names differ on these reports to some degree, arguably in order to make database queries difficult, but mistakes also do happen by volunteer treasurers.

The Smoky Hill organization has been reported under the following entity names: 

  • Smoky Hills Strategies LLC
  • Smoky Hills Strategies
  • Smoky Hill Strategies
  • Smoky Hills Consultants; and
  • Smokey Hill Strategies 

The addresses, likewise, differ on these public disclosures. Addresses used include:

  • 1349 Svensk Road, Lindsborg
  • 800 N Market, Wichita
  • 7129 Beverly St., Overland Park

We performed queries of these addresses to publicly available engines and databases and linked each of these addresses to KDP Executive Committee members Tom Witt, Ryon Carey and Chris Reeves.

From Smoky Hills Strategies, the trio received the following amounts:

  • Ryon Carey - $46,873
  • Tom Witt - $5,114
  • Chris Reeves - $73,000

1349 Svensk Road - Ryon Carey, KDP Executive Committee Member (LGBT Caucus)

The address at 1349 Svensk Road in Lindsborg is the registered address for Executive Committee member Ryon Carey, who we detailed yesterday was also the owner of Post Rock Partners, Inc., who worked for Dennis McKinney on behalf of the Kansas Democratic Party in the KS-04 Special Election in early 2017

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800 N Market - Tom Witt, KDP Executive Committee Member ("Progressive" Caucus)

The 800 N Market address in Wichita is the same address as Equality Kansas. KDP Executive Committee member Tom Witt is the Executive Director for the Equality Kansas organization.

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The 2017 Legislative Lobbyist Directory shows Mr. Witt is the registered lobbyist at Equality Kansas located at "800 N Marlet" in Wichita. We presume the street is a mistake, because there is not a "Marlet Street" in Wichita.

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A quick Google search confirms Equality Kansas is located at 800 N Market Street in Wichita. 

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Tom Witt posted twice on SaveTheParty.org on Monday, September 25.

The first time Tom posted to call us liars, purportedly for this statement:

The Kansas Democratic Party suffers from coordinated and systemic attempts to game democratic processes to the benefit of a select few - those few are people like the Chris Reeves and Tom Witts of the world.

The second time Tom Witt posted was to take credit for an Equality Kansas endorsement for James Thompson, just four days before the special election in April.

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7129 Beverly, Overland Park - Chris Reeves, Kansas DNC Man

According to the Johnson County Appraiser's Office, the home located at 7129 Beverly Street, Overland Park is owned by, Chris Reeves, Kansas' seat upon the Democratic National Committee (DNC). 

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Amounts By Address to The Smoky Hill Gang 

Filtering the aggregated disclosures by address suggests how much each partner to the Smoky Hill Gang received from Democratic party and candidate committees in 2016 and 2017. 

Ryon Carey - 1349 Svensk Road, Lindsborg - $46,783

Aggregated report disbursements to the Smoky Hills address at 1349 Svensk Road in Lindsborg suggest KDP Executive Committee member Ryon Carey received $46,783 of the $124,897 in total disbursements through the Smoky Hill Gang over the course of the 2016 - 2017 combined reports. PDF is available here

smokyhillgang_svenskroaddisbursements.png

Tom Witt - 800 N Market, Wichita - $5,114.14

Aggregated disbursements from the public disclosures substantiate that the Smoky Hill address at 800 N Market in Wichita received disbursements totaling $5,114.14. Again, while not dispositive, the address used upon the disclosure does suggest that KDP Executive Committee member Tom Witt received $5,114.14 from Democratic party and candidate committees, including from the Senate Democrats Committee. PDF is available here.

smokyhilldisbursements_800nmarket.png

Chris Reeves - 7129 Beverly Court, Overland Park - $73,000

Aggregated disbursements available from the public disclosures substantiate also that the Smoky Hill address at 7129 Beverly Street in Overland Park received $73,000 in disbursements from Democratic party and candidate committees in the aggregate between over the 2016 - 2017 period. The disbursements are to the same address as KDP Executive Committee member and DNC Man Chris Reeves. PDF is available here. 

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The Smoky Hill Gang's Dark Money Web

Web of Sole Proprietorships Conceals Who Receives the Money

We queried the Smoky Hills name or variants of the trade name thereof and discovered that the Smoky Hill Gang has, additionally, received disbursements under other trade names: BNV Printing and Swing Vote Media.

Neither BNV Printing nor Swing Vote Media are registered with the Kansas Secretary of State for corporate or limited liability status. Instead, these entities are operated as Sole Proprietorships in Kansas.

Kansas statutes do not require Sole Proprietorships to register with the Kansas Secretary of State and, therefore, there are no public disclosures relating to these entities other than those identified on the combined FEC and GEC reports for 2016 and 2017. 

BNV Printing - $147,355 In Total Disbursements

A query of the addresses utilized by the Smoky Hill Gang under the Smoky Hill or other variant trade names demonstrates that an entity named "BNV Printing" was also utilized to receive disbursements from Democratic party and candidate committees over the 2016 - 2017 period. 

When we queried on the "BNV" trade name through the aggregated reports, it showed, once again, three more addresses were utilized on the public disclosures to the FEC and GEC in 2016 and 2017.

The three addresses produced by this query (PDF) were:

  • 800 N Market, Wichita
  • 700 S Main Street, Lindsborg
  • 8005 W 129th Street, Overland Park

bnvprinting.png


 

800 N Market St, Wichita - Tom Witt / Equality Kansas - $53,729

You'll recall that the 800 N Market address in Wichita is the address shared by KDP Executive Committee member Tom Witt and Equality Kansas. Indeed, Deb Shepard, a candidate for the Kansas House District 93 in 2016 even reports, though apparently mistakenly, a disbursement to "BNV Printing / Equality Kansas" on Page 1 of her Schedule C to the October 2016 GEC Report

There were more than $53,000 in disbursements made to BNV Printing at the 800 N Market address in Wichita (PDF). 

bnvprinting_800nmarket.png


700 S Main St, Lindsborg - Ryon Carey - $730

We identified the Lindsborg address at 700 S Main Street easily from our post yesterday detailing the KDP's use of Post Rock Partners, Inc. as the consultant to give the edge to their hand-picked candidate in the KS-04 Special Election, Dennis McKinney

Post Rock is owned by KDP Executive Committee member Ryon Carey. BNV Printing received $730 at the 700 S Main address in Lindsborg.

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8005 W 129th Street, Overland Park - Robert Cottingham & Vickie Thornton - $92,895

We additionally performed searches of 8005 W 129th Street, Overland Park address and determined that there was nearly $93,000 in total disbursements from Democratic party and candidate committees in the aggregate over the 2016 - 2017 public disclosure periods.

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According to the Johnson County Appraiser's office, 8005 West 129th Street in Overland Park is a residential home owned by Robert Cottingham-Thornton.

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Additionally, a cross-reference of that address on the Kansas Secretary of State's Voter Registration File confirms that a Robert John Cottingham has been registered at the address since June 22, 1999.

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An additional cross-reference query by address to the 8005 W 129th Street address in the state voter registration file additionally shows Vickie Lynn Thornton registered at the address since March 25, 1999. 

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Neither of these individuals are known to active party members in the Kansas Democratic Party, and we have no other information relating to either of these individuals other than they received total disbursements amounting to nearly $93,000 during the 2016 - 2017 disclosure period.

We stopped our inquiry after there was no match to known party members on the state and / or executive committee. 


Swing Vote Media - Overland Park and Lindsborg - $672.50

Swing Vote Media also appears at two different addresses on the aggregate public disclosures: 8005 W 129th St in Overland Park and 1349 Svensk Road in Lindsborg (the same address as the voter registration of KDP Executive Committee member Ryon Carey).  

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Post Rock Partners, Inc. - $116,562

Post Rock Partners, Inc., as we covered in-part yesterday, is owned by KDP Executive Committee member Ryon Carey. Yesterday, we covered only the disbursements relating to the Kansas Democratic Party's efforts to nominate Dennis McKinney in the KS-04 Special Election.

We also performed an aggregate analysis of the disbursements to Post Rock Partners, Inc. 

When we queried the name Post Rock Partners, Inc. and variants thereof, we identified more than $116,000 in disbursements, including from Independent candidate for the 2016 KS-04 Congressional race, Miranda Allen. PDF of the disbursements here.

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Individual Consultants on the Kansas Democratic Party's Executive Committee

Jim Ward, House Democratic Leader - $5,000

Now House Democratic Leader Rep. Jim Ward, Wichita, received $5,000 from the KDP's State Party Committee, acting as a Design & Printing Consultant ("Consultant - Design - Printing"). These disbursements, of course, occurred on August 8, 2016 and October 1, 2016, before Rep. Ward was elected Democratic Leader of the Kansas House. The Report for these disbursements is available here (the last two disbursements of the report, on pages 29 and 30). 

Chris Reeves, Kansas DNC Man - $3,500

On September 15, 2016, Kansas DNC Man and KDP Executive Board Member Chris Reeves also received $3,500 from the Giroux for Congress campaign in KS-04 for the 2016 election. This is the only contribution that was directly received by Chris Reeves during the 2016 - 2017 look-back period. 


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