The claims made last week in a campaign advertisement by Wichita businessman Wink Hartman remain elusive and largely unproven.
Hartman is running for the Republican Party nomination for United States Congress from the fourth district of Kansas. The other candidates and their campaign websites are Wichita businessman Jim Anderson, Wichita businessman Mike Pompeo, Latham engineer Paij Rutschman, and Kansas Senator Jean Schodorf.
Scott Paradise, the Hartman campaign manager, will not accommodate my request to view the documents that he says prove the allegations in the ad.
Paradise said he is “not happy” with some things I’ve written about Hartman. I don’t imagine he is, as I’ve written several articles critical of Hartman. But I offered to go to the campaign office and look at the documents and hear what the campaign had to say.
What voters are left with is a last-minute inflammatory charge made by Hartman against Pompeo without having evidence of the charges. We know this is true because the campaign wasn’t able to produce evidence immediately and had to wait for the accuser to supply documents. That evidence, when examined by two Wichita Eagle reporters, appeared to indicate that Thayer Aerospace, Pompeo’s company, made “late, and in some cases reduced, payments” to one of its suppliers.
The accuser says the company didn’t pay and drove him out of business and into bankruptcy. There’s a lot of distance between these two claims.
We also know that the Hartman campaign ran the ad without identifying the businessman, perhaps hoping that no one would be able to identify him and investigate his claims.
Florida issue miscast
At issue also has been Hartman’s residency. Critics say that by claiming a “homestead” property tax exemption on a home he owns in Florida, Hartman became a Florida — not Kansas — resident.
There’s also been discussion as to whether he filed income taxes as a Kansas or Florida resident. Hartman says he’s paid all his taxes in Kansas.
But voting is something over which there is no controversy. As first reported on this site, Hartman most recently voted in Florida. Both he and his wife voted in Florida’s general election and presidential preference primary election in 2008.
They didn’t register to vote in Kansas until July of last year.
Voting by mail is popular in Sedgwick County, with 36 percent of the ballots cast in the November 2008 general election cast by mail. It doesn’t cost anything more than a postage stamp and the desire to cast your vote where you feel your political home is.