Since a very early age, Ive gotten in the habit of planning things that other people just take for granted, he explained.
Kobach wont discuss how much he makes moonlightling with his outside immigration legal work while holding down his $86,000-a-year-job as secretary of state. He said he doesnt do it for the money.
But hes been paid at least $424,000 in legal fees and expenses during the last five or six years for work hes done in various jurisdictions, according to figures obtained by The Star.
During 2010, Kobach reported income from 10 groups, including the Immigration Law Reform Institute, which lists him as senior counsel but pays him on a fee-for-service basis.
He also reported income of $2,000 or more from the Federalist Society, the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund, and Maricopa County, Ariz., home of well-known Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose office has been accused by the federal government of enforcing immigration laws based on racially-driven complaints.
Kansas law allows elected officials wide discretion in how they allocate their time. No state law directly prohibits outside employment for the secretary of state, although four Democratic senators introduced a bill last year that would have blocked more than two dozen state officials from working outside the office for more than 10 hours a week.
The bill failed.
Yet, Kobachs outside work still riles liberal activists and Democratic state legislators. They mock Kobachs far-ranging travels, and each week distribute a news release titled: Wheres Kris Kobach?
Kobach takes it all in stride. He said he maintains a separate cellphone for immigration calls. He said he does a lot of his immigration work on his personal computer.
Almost a year ago, conservative columnist Ann Coulter mentioned Kobach as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 an opinion that spread like wildfire across the blogosphere.
Recently, he formed a political action committee, one of the must-take steps for any ambitious national politician. The PAC, he said, will help candidates fighting voter fraud. After the move drew flak from opponents, he defended it by noting that past secretaries of state have made political donations to candidates, too.
When a conservative secretary of state sets up a PAC, (critics say) oh, we cant have that. Their hypocrisy is so obvious that its laughable, Kobach said.
Asked if he has plans to seek higher office, Kobach demurs.
I used to think when I was a city councilman I could look down the road at a political career, he said. I dont think that anymore. I honestly believe that doors will or will not open. Its not in my hands.
But when pressed on whether he wants to be president someday, Kobach said: If someone handed it to me on a silver platter, Id probably take it.
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