News · Press Release

ICYMI: Former Brownback Advisor and Lobbyist Amanda Adkins Faces Scrutiny Over Potential Conflict of Interest

Campaign watchdog groups say Adkins’ relationship with government contractor Cerner walks “right up to the line”

Yesterday, The Kansas City Star reported that former Sam Brownback adviser and corporate lobbyist Amanda Adkins plans to continue working as an executive for Cerner Corporation while running for the Republican nomination in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. According to ethics experts, Adkins’ arrangement with the company — which holds a large number of government contracts — walks “right up to the line” of being a “very significant conflict of interest.”

Now, with Cerner’s top leadership helping to bankroll her campaign, the question is whether Adkins is running for Congress to advocate for her longtime employer or hardworking Kansas families.

Key Points From The Kansas City Star:

  • “Adkins, a former state GOP chair, has decided to stay on as a Cerner vice president during the campaign. That poses risks for both Adkins and her company, according to campaign watchdog groups.”
  • “Misti Preston, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an email that when Adkins decided to run for office ‘the company’s policies were made clear to her: campaigning should be done on personal time and her personal campaign activities should be kept entirely separate and apart from her role at’ But distinctions between company time and personal time are murky. Preston was unable to say how many hours Adkins works in a typical work week.”
  • “Craig Holman, lobbyist for Public Citizen, a nonprofit watchdog group which champions stricter ethics rules for lawmakers, said Adkins situation with Cerner is ‘not a common issue.’ ‘Almost always candidates realize there is a very significant conflict of interest,’ he said. ‘She’s walking right up to the line here.’”
  • “After managing Sam Brownback’s successful Senate re-election campaign in 2004, Adkins took a position as Cerner’s director of government affairs. She recently slammed her GOP rival Sara Hart Weir’s career as a lobbyist, but records show that Adkins registered as a lobbyist with the Kansas Legislature in 2005 and with the U.S. House in 2006.”
  • “Adkins’ campaign also comes at a time when Cerner is cutting jobs. Since September the company has announced two rounds of layoffs, which have affected more than 380 jobs. Cerner is the Kansas City area’s largest private employer with 14,000 employees in the region and a total of 30,000 worldwide.”
  • “Excluding her personal contributions to the campaign, Adkins received $6,350 from Cerner employees during her first month in the race, including $2,800 from Donald Trigg, the company’s executive vice president, according to her October campaign finance filing. The PAC hasn’t donated any money to Adkins’ campaign at this point, but Davids is the only House incumbent of either party from Kansas or Kansas City region not to receive a contribution from Cerner’s PAC this cycle.”


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