New Report: Derek Schmidt Profits Off of Natural Gas Industry, While Slow-Walking Investigation Into Price Gouging That Left Kansans in the Cold
A new report from the Kansas Reflector reveals that Derek Schmidt “could be receiving thousands of dollars a year in income” from a natural gas well he owns while dragging his feet investigating the natural gas industry for price-gouging during a severe freeze last year.
The Kansas Reflector added that this uncovered conflict of interest is “prompting calls for him to disclose more information about his earnings as he investigates gas companies for potential price gouging during February’s severe freeze.”
An expert with Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, said, “I think the attorney general has a responsibility to affirmatively report and disclose the income that he receives from the natural gas industry in light of him leading an investigation into the natural gas industry.”
However, when asked, Schmidt’s campaign and office both refused to “disclose Schmidt’s earnings on the well.”
“It’s a problem because his official actions will directly affect his pocketbook,” said Public Citizen’s Craig Holman. “It’s reasonable to believe that he could take official actions that would have in mind his own financial interest rather than the merit of the investigation.”
The Reflector added that “Patrick Miller and Don Heider-Markel, political science professors at the University of Kansas, said Schmidt’s ownership in the well appeared to create a potential conflict of interest.”
“Derek Schmidt has a well of secrets he’s keeping from the Kansas families he left out in the cold,” said DGA Deputy Communications Advisor Sam Newton. “Schmidt should stop hiding his self-serving actions from Kansans, disclose his personal profits from the same industry he’s supposed to be investigating, and recuse himself entirely.”