September 1, 2017 Last Updated 7:53 am

Kansas Secretary of State now paid columnist for Breitbart; Local Utah media post nurse’s unwarranted arrest video

Morning Brief: St. Kitts and Nevis launches investigation into the clinical trial for a herpes vaccine by American company backed by Peter Thiel, funder of Gawker lawsuit

The media regularly invite and even encourage elected officials to contribute opinion pieces for publication. The practice is common, but far less common is the actual hiring of an elected official to become a paid columnist.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry “I get paid for my columns … just like you’re paid.”

Breitbart is funded by several prominent GOP contributors, and so the arrangement skirts political campaign funding laws in a rather obvious way. Kobach has already declared that he will run for Kansas governor and is leading President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud.

The Kansas City Star, Bryan Lowry:

Kris Kobach’s new job: Columnist for Breitbart

“I think Breitbart.com appeals to anyone who is Republican or conservative in any way,” Kobach said after disputing claims that the site caters to white nationalists. “It appeals to a broad spectrum of conservative readers.”

Four of Kobach’s seven pieces published so far have focused on immigration policy, including his Wednesday column which was marked “Exclusive.” He called for Trump to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration policy that has allowed people who entered the country illegally as children to avoid deportation and obtain work permits.

“DACA is inconsistent with the rule of law, inconsistent with the president’s own promises, and inconsistent with the president’s principled stand against illegal immigration. It must end,” Kobach wrote in his column.

The Associated Press, John Hanna:

Kansas Secretary of State Files 2 New Election Fraud Cases

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office has filed two new criminal election fraud cases, including one alleging that a non-U.S. citizen illegally attempted to vote last year.

The three felony charges filed earlier this month in Johnson County against Sergio Salgado-Juarez marked the second time in two years that Kobach’s office has prosecuted a noncitizen for voting or attempting to vote. Legislators gave his office the authority to prosecute election fraud cases in 2015, making him the only top state elections official in the nation with that power.

Ten of the 12 cases filed by Kobach’s office have charged people with voting illegally in Kansas while voting in the same elections in other states. His office filed four felony charges earlier this month in Franklin County against David E. Haddock, alleging he voted there last year while also voting in Colorado.

Kobach is vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud and has promoted Trump’s unsubstantiated claim of widespread illegal voting last year. Of the 12 cases Kobach’s office has filed, nine have ended with convictions or guilty pleas, including the other case of a noncitizen voting. Defendants have been fined from $500 to $6,000 but have received no prison time.



The issue of police behavior will once again come to the forefront after video was released showing a Utah nurse being violently arrested after she refused tom draw blood from an unconscious patient. The officer did not have a warrant, the patient was not under arrest, and being unconscious could not give consent.

The video was captured from the officer’s body cam and was posted by the two Salt Lake City newspapers, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, as well as other local media. With few exceptions, reader comments were against the actions of the police officer, and complimentary of the nurse, who while arrested has not been charged with any crime.

The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins:

‘This is crazy,’ sobs Utah hospital nurse as cop roughs her up, arrests her for doing her job

By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient…

…Nurse Alex Wubbels politely stood her ground. She got her supervisor on the phone so Payne could hear the decision loud and clear. “Sir,” said the supervisor, “you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”

Payne snapped. He seized hold of the nurse, shoved her out of the building and cuffed her hands behind her back. A bewildered Wubbels screamed “help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as the detective forced her into an unmarked car and accused her of interfering with an investigation.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Pamela Manson:

Video shows Utah nurse screaming, being dragged into police car after refusing to let officer take blood from unconscious victim

Parts of the footage were shown Thursday at a news conference at the office of Karra Porter, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Wubbels. Salt Lake police Sgt. Brandon Shearer said the department started an internal investigation, which is ongoing, in response to the incident…

…Porter, however, said “implied consent” has not been the law in Utah since 2007, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the Constitution permits warrantless breath tests in drunken-driving arrests, but not warrantless blood tests. She stressed that the patient was always considered the victim in the case and never was suspected of wrongdoing.

No claim or lawsuit has been filed, Porter said, but she has had discussions with Salt Lake City police and she believes the department will educate its officers.



Peter Thiel is back in the news, though this time he will not be able to blame Gawker.

Thiel is backing a clinical trial for a herpes vaccine in an offshore location, skirting FDA regulations. The government of St. Kitts and Nevis, rarely heard from except in early CONCACAF qualifying, is investigating what is going on.

Thiel was discovered to be the money behind the Gawker lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan and is the subject of a “micro-biography” by R. Byrne Reilly (see TNM’s three part interview with the author here).

The Daily Beast, Marisa Taylor, Kaiser Health News:

Authorities Launch Investigation of ‘Unethical’ Offshore Herpes Trial Backed by Peter Thiel

The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has launched an investigation into the clinical trial for a herpes vaccine by an American company because it said its officials were not notified about the experiments.

The vaccine research has sparked controversy because the lead investigator, a professor with Southern Illinois University, and the U.S. company he co-founded did not rely on traditional U.S. safety oversight while testing the vaccine last year on mostly American participants on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

The trial received financial backing from a former Hollywood filmmaker who has asserted the vaccine was highly successful in stopping herpes outbreaks. Since then, a group of investors, including Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel, have backed the ongoing vaccine research with a $7 million investment that could include additional clinical trials in Mexico and Australia.

Comments are closed.