Dem Criticized For Sex Toy ‘Cheap Shot’

By John Celock

The top Democrat in the Kansas state Senate is being criticized for accusing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) for moving the state into porn by selling sex toys to recoup unpaid taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley’s (D-Topeka), who accused Brownback Wednesday of plugging a budget gap caused by his tax cuts by selling sex toys, is being criticized as not focusing on state policy that would require the sale from a business delinquent in tax payments. The state Department of Revenue announced the sex toy auction Wednesday saying the items were from the sex store chain Bang, which owed the state $163,986 in back taxes. The Revenue Department said the auction is common practice from the state to recoup taxes owed by a business.

Hensley disagreed, issuing a statement Wednesday criticizing Brownback’s tax cuts and saying that the cuts have caused a budget shortfall that can only be filled through the sex toy sale. Hensley is repeating long time Democratic talking points, which have said that Brownback’s cuts, which have included deep cuts in business taxes for LLCs and S corps, have plunged the state into budget deficits.

“Brownback is so desperate to fill the massive hole in the state budget caused by his reckless income tax cuts that the state of Kansas is now in the porn business,” Hensley said, Kansas First News reported.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis has said he would halt the tax cuts if elected. Brownback has said he’ll continue the cuts.

Republican lawmakers fought back by saying that the Revenue Deparment is only following long time state policy.

“This is another desperate attempt by the Kansas Democrats to distract from Paul Davis’ plans to raise taxes on hard working Kansans,” state Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady (R-Palco) told The Celock Report. “To try and make an issue of the Department of Revenue merely doing its job to recover money owed is an insult to business owners who pay their taxes and the citizens of our state who benefit from state services.”

Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) called Hensley’s comments a “cheap shot” against Brownback, noting the auctions occur “all the time,” with this sale getting attention because it involves sex toys and not office equipment. House Majority Whip Ron Ryckman Jr. (R-Olathe) dismissed the debate over the sex toy sales as “political folly.”

One lawmaker said he wants Hensley to put forward a suggestion on how to recoup the unpaid taxes from the sex shop.

“If Senator Hensley wants to forgive a sex shop and not other small retailers that have tax issues, that’s on his conscience,” Sen. Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita) told The Celock Report. “What solution is Senator Hensley bringing except throwing stones? If Governor Brownback had decided to destroy the property he’d attack him for that. Knowing Anthony Hensley he never offers solutions nor in his 36 year legislative career has he offered or developed solutions.”

Hensley did not respond to messages left by The Celock Report at his Topeka office or his home. Hensley has been a longtime opponent of Brownback’s tax cuts, a theme common among legislative Democrats.

Davis and Brownback have been locked in a competitive gubernatorial race, with Davis holding a lead in polls. The gubernatorial race has largely centered on economic and educational issues. Brownback has defended the tax cuts, saying that they will bring more jobs to the state, while Davis has said they will bankrupt the state.

The sex toy debate comes as the Kansas gubernatorial race has taken an X-Rated turn. Over the weekend, the Coffeyville Journal reported that Davis was receiving a lap dance in a Coffeyville strip club during a 1998 drug raid. Davis said the strip club’s owner was a client of the law firm he was working for at the time and that he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” Davis was not arrested or charged in the drug raid.

Hensley used his statement on the sex toy sale to attack Brownback supporters for bringing up Davis’ presence in the strip club during the 1998 raid.

At least one Democratic lawmaker said that both storylines – sex toys and lap dances – are a “distraction” from the issues that are facing Kansas voters. Rep. Jim Ward (D-Wichita) told The Celock Report that the gubernatorial race should refocus on the issues .

“Kansas has serious problems. Our schools have been hurting over the last four years, Medicaid is privatizing, the economy is hurting. The sex toys and the strip club are just distractions,” Ward said. “Voters will cut through back and get back to what they care about. How their kids and grandkids’ schools are, how Medicare will be for their mom and the economy.”

Ward said that he believes that voters are more focused on the issues. He said that when he is talking to voters in his Wichita district, the focus is on education and other issues and not on sex.

“This other stuff is silliness,” Ward said. “This feeds into voters worst fears of politics, that it’s a bad business.”