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Kansas Candidate Drops Out Of Commissioner Race

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NU Online News Service, May 16, 12:17 p.m. – A Kansas Insurance Department official running in the Republican primary for the Kansas insurance commissioner’s post has dropped from the race and quit his job after admitting he solicited insurers for political contributions.

John McCarvel ran afoul of a state law banning campaign contributions from insurance companies he regulated in his position at the department, according to Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka, Kan., attorney who represents McCarvel.

McCarvel resigned from the job last week after current Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius pointed out that his campaign solicitations from insurers violated state law.

A Kansas Insurance Department spokeswoman said McCarvel made some solicitations when the state legislature was in session, in violation of state law.

Ethical guidelines that Sebelius set as insurance commissioner prohibit the Kansas department staff from making political campaign solicitations at any time, the spokeswoman said.

In his job as admissions coordinator for the Kansas department, McCarvel had authority to approve insurance company applications to do business in the state, the spokeswoman said.

Irigonegaray said McCarvel received donations of up to $750 from unnamed insurers but returned them after learning they appeared to violate state law.

Sebelius has requested an investigation by the Governmental Ethics Commission.

Sebelius, a Democrat, is running for governor rather than seeking reelection. So far no Democratic primary candidates have filed for the commissioner’s post.

Sebelius has endorsed no one to replace her as insurance commissioner, the Kansas department spokeswoman said.

The remaining Republican candidates in the commissioner’s race are State Sen. Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, who chairs the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, and Bryan Riley of Wichita, who ran unsuccessfully in 1998.


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