Johnson County Republican Dave Lindstrom’s campaign may be violating Kansas law by raffling a Kansas City Chiefs jersey signed by Patrick Mahomes, according to two state agencies.
Lindstrom, chairman of the Kansas Turnpike Authority and a former Kansas City Chiefs player, is running for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Pat Roberts. The campaign began selling $20 tickets last week for a June 23 raffle of the Super Bowl MVP’s jersey.
Kansas law only permits charities to conduct raffles. All other entities are restricted, including political campaigns, according to Zach Fletcher, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Revenue.
“Political campaigns are not allowed to hold raffles since campaigns are not considered charitable organizations. This type of raffle falls outside of acceptable gaming practices established by statute,” Fletcher said in an email.
Michelle Neis, an attorney for the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, agreed that a political campaign does not meet the statute’s definition of a charity.
“A raffle conducted by an entity other than a qualifying nonprofit organization would be considered a lottery,” Neis said in an email, noting that lotteries are prohibited under Kansas law with an exception for the state-run lottery.
Reached by phone Wednesday morning, Lindstrom said he needed time to look into the matter and ended the call.
Dakotah Parshall, Lindstrom’s campaign manager, called a half hour later and said that all the raffle proceeds would be going to a charity rather than the campaign. Parshall said it was a cattlemen’s charity, but he did not know the name.
There is no mention of the proceeds going to charity on the document outlining the raffle’s rules that was posted to Lindstrom’s campaign website when the raffle began May 19.
However, Fletcher said that even if the proceeds are going to charity, the raffle still violates Kansas law.
“Under the charitable gaming statute, this would still not be allowed. Only organizations outlined by statute can organize and hold raffles,” Fletcher said Wednesday
The front page of the campaign’s website now says that all proceeds will go to charity, but the document outlining terms and conditions remains unchanged as of Wednesday morning.
Parshall did not answer a follow-up phone call.
Neis said that local law enforcement agencies would have jurisdiction over a potential investigation or prosecution. The address on the raffle terms and conditions Lindstrom’s campaign office in Overland Park.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Parshall said that Lindstrom had planned to donate proceeds to the Military Veteran Project in Topeka. He said the campaign would refund contributions after learning about the Kansas law.
“When the idea first came up give the jersey away, we were working based off of federal law since this is a federal race. Since becoming aware of Kansas’ antiquated law… we have decided to refund the contributions,” Parshall said.
Parshall said the campaign still plans to give away the autographed Mahomes jersey, but it will no longer require a contribution— a change that will likely resolve the legal issues. He said the campaign would post details on its website later this week.