April 1, 2023

HOLY GRIFTING: Bible-thumping Kansas legislator convicted of pandemic assistance fraud

HOLY GRIFTING: Bible-thumping Kansas legislator convicted of pandemic assistance fraud

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Former Kansas House Representative Michael Capps, known for his legislative efforts to force “In God We Trust” into school buildings, now faces jail time after being found guilty of 12 felonies related to COVID-19 relief.

Republican lawmakers like to claim that posting a religious logo in classrooms and courtrooms will improve morality, but perhaps Capps should have placed “In God We Trust” on the wall in his own offices, instead.

Then, maybe he wouldn’t have found himself facing charges for lying to a bank in order to secure a loan, falsifying statements to the Small Business Administration, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and more.

Capps was accused of falsifying the number of employees at his two businesses, as well as a sports foundation, when he filled out documents to request a government loan to pay those employees during the pandemic.

The damage done was over $350k in fraudulently-received funds, and when he’s sentenced, he could face decades in prison as well as hefty fines.

He reportedly denied wrongdoing at his trial, and blamed a bank employee for his inaccurate payroll calculations — although he also admitted including the two daughters (aged 10 and 14) of the co-owner of one of his businesses as “employees” when he sought the loan.

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For one of his businesses, he claimed 8 employees, though Federal investigators would later find that the business had no employees at all.

From The Wichita Eagle:

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“Capps claimed at trial, without evidence, that an Emprise Bank employee instructed him to file false and fraudulent information. The emails his lawyer presented at trial to support his claim did not include any such instructions and instead showed the employee instructing Capps to use his 2019 numbers, prosecutors said.”

It’s not Capps’ first scandal, either — in 2021, he left office following the release of a recording that revealed a fellow Kansas lawmaker was behind a video ad making false allegations of sexual abuse against a Democratic opponent, and Capps was tied to the effort through another company with which he was associated.

The Kansas Reflector reported in 2020 that he and the other lawmakers involved were being called on to resign, but he had already lost his bid for re-election, so simply left at the end of his term.

In fact, the Republican was already in trouble even before he was appointed to his House seat in 2018, replacing an exiting colleague.

According to NPR-affiliate KCUR, after his appointment, the Kansas GOP learned that he’d been found guilty of child abuse the previous year, and that the finding had been overturned on technicalities.

They reportedly asked him not to run to keep his seat.

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He claimed those allegations were false, and were made as retaliation because he’d reported a foster parent for allegedly allowing a registered sex offender near children, and claimed that the Department of Child and Family Service (DCFS) was just choosing to target him while letting secual predators off the hook.

Yet, according to ABC-affiliate KAKE-TV, the allegation came from a foster parent whose children he interacted with, and she claims that he had the children sit on his lap and rub his chest and kissed and hugged them.

A DCFS investigation concluded that he was guilty of the abuse, but the state cited errors in their paperwork for overturning on appeal.

He’ll face sentencing on the bank fraud and related convictions in March.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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