KANSAS CITY, Mo.
— There is an online petition calling for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to resign over allegations that he improperly accessed social services accounts and then illegally stored them on computers and shared them with the Kansas City Star.
The petition, signed by over 700 people and addressed to Kobach, is being promoted as a call to action to get his resignation.
The state has no legal authority to do this.
In a statement, Kobach said he is committed to conducting a full investigation into the matter and will comply with the law.
Kobach’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
The Kansas Star reported Thursday that Kobach accessed the social services of more than 4,000 people.
He used his position as secretary of state to access the account of a family member in October and later to an account of an attorney.
The Star said the accounts were used for fundraising and other purposes.
Kobache’s office said he accessed only his personal account, and did not have any role in the use of the accounts or the dissemination of them.
It did not say what actions Kobach was taking to comply with Kansas law, which bars public officials from using personal accounts for any purpose.
A federal judge ordered Kobach last month to stop using personal account accounts in his capacity as secretary, but he continued to use them.
In an interview, Kobacher said the account accessed were used to collect donations, to respond to requests for information from the public and to provide access to state agencies and other services.
Kobacher’s office has said he had no idea he was doing any of that.
“If someone were to come to me and say, ‘I want to help you find a job,’ that’s perfectly understandable,” Kobach told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday.
“I’d be able to say, well, I know you were the one who did it.
The Star reported Kobach used personal accounts in a similar way to a state employee in 2016, when he accessed accounts of several state agencies for fundraising purposes. “
What I’m trying to say is, look, we have a system in place that is very robust, but we don’t have the authority to be able do this, especially with the way we’re running our state government right now.”
The Star reported Kobach used personal accounts in a similar way to a state employee in 2016, when he accessed accounts of several state agencies for fundraising purposes.
The federal judge also found that Kobaches office improperly accessed private information from an account used by an attorney, as well as personal information from a personal email account and a social media account.
The judge ordered the secretary of a state agency to create a new system for storing and managing data and ordered Kobaches administration to provide an explanation by Feb. 2.
The governor’s office was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
The Associated News contributed to this report.