Kobach sits on board of veterans group that’s not using money for veterans

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A business watchdog has found that only a small portion of money from a Missouri-based veterans’ group that Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is associated with actually goes toward helping veterans.

Kobach is listed as a member of the advisory board for Veterans in Defense of Liberty, a Springfield-based nonprofit with a stated mission of upholding the Constitution, the Kansas City Star reported. Kobach is also running for governor of Kansas.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

The Better Business Bureau released a report this week giving the group a failing grade because only a small fraction of the nonprofit’s money goes toward veterans’ issues.

“This is the first I’ve heard of any suggestion that the monies raised by the charity aren’t going to the various causes for veterans,” Kobach said Thursday.

The watchdog agency, which reviews the integrity of charities and businesses, began investigating the veterans’ group after a Kansas man asked the bureau about a mailer he’d received asking for donations.

“This Sweepstakes is part of our efforts to fix the broken and corrupt Veterans Affairs Department,” the mailer stated, according to the bureau. “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that our sick, wounded and disabled veterans are provided with the quality health care they need and deserve.

But a review of the group’s 2014 and 2015 filings with the Internal Revenue Service showed that 94 percent of the money donated to the group went to fundraisers, according to the bureau.

“When you donate to a cause, you want to make sure your money is going to help,” said Michelle Corey, CEO of the bureau’s St. Louis chapter. “With these mailers, it appears that the professional fundraisers who organize the campaigns are benefiting the most from contributions.”

Kobach said he joined the group’s board six years ago because he cares “deeply about veterans and veterans’ issues.” He said he would review the group’s financial records to determine whether to cut ties with the organization.

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