Cease and desist letter sent on behalf of candidate

John Richmeier

Updated at 10:29 a.m. Oct. 26, 2020, to correct an error regarding the district for the Kansas House of Representatives.

An attorney for a local candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives has sent a cease and desist letter to Kansans for Life and is threatening a lawsuit.

The letter, dated Oct. 22, asks the organization to stop sending mailers and publishing online advertisements that the attorney argues contain “false and defamatory” statements about Joana Scholtz.

Scholtz is the Democratic candidate for the 40th District seat of the Kansas House of Representatives. The district includes the city of Lansing and a portion of Leavenworth.

Scholtz is running against incumbent state Rep. David French, who is a Republican.

The cease and desist letter, which was written by attorney Tai J. Vokins with the law firm of Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire and Jarboe, accuses Kansans for Life of making false claims about Scholtz supporting late-term and unrestricted abortions as well as taxpayer funding for abortions.

The letter argues the statements made by Kansans for Life “are complete fabrications unsupported by any legitimate public statement or policy position of Ms. Scholtz.”

“To be clear, my client has never stated and does not support ‘unrestricted abortion’ or ‘unlimited and late term abortion,’” Vokins wrote in the letter. “My client is in favor of various abortion restrictions, particularly when it comes to taxpayer funded abortions. Moreover, though my client has never made a public statement on the issue, my client does not support ‘abortions up to the moment of birth.’”

Scholtz said in a news release that "purposefully misinforming voters is shameful and intently dangerous. It must end. We have to return truth and decency to campaigning in Kansas.”

Mary Kay Culp, regional executive director for Kansans for Life, said in a statement that Scholtz "openly opposes the Value Them Both Amendment, a response to a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling that presumes all laws regulating abortion are unconstitutional. Since this amendment is the only practical way of ensuing state laws banning late-term and taxpayer-funded abortion remain in place, Ms. Scholtz’s position is in opposition to these laws."

Culp also stated that Scholtz has been "endorsed by the Mainstream Coalition that publicly testified against a proposed ban on state taxpayer-funded abortion and EMILY’s List, which opposes limits on the abortion industry."

The letter sent on behalf of Scholtz asks Kansans for Life to remove all of its online advertisements concerning Scholtz, send a retraction and apology to people who have received mailers from the organization and cease and desist from future false statements about the candidate. Volkins set a deadline of Tuesday for complying with the demands.

“If you do not comply with this demand, we will file suit against you,” Vokins wrote in the letter.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR