The attorney general of Kansas released a document Thursday that he said shows the federal government may have broken the law when it spent money considering whether to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners from Cuba to the United States.
Derek Schmidt publicized a one-page costs sheet that shows the Department of Defense spent about $26,000 to consider if three sites, including Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, could take relocated prisoners.
The Republican included the information in a letter to Kansas congressional leaders. He asked the politicians to use the information to get an “explanation from the Department of Defense” about why the money was spent.
The “admission raises the concern that the Department of Defense violated the law by knowingly expending these funds while federal law enacted by Congress expressly prohibited the agency from doing so,” Schmidt wrote in the letter. “Knowing of your strong interest in both preventing a transfer of Guantanamo detainees to Fort Leavenworth and protecting the congressional power of the purse, I am bringing this matter to your attention.”
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That document came from Schmidt’s legal battle with the federal government over information he requested about the Obama administration’s plans for detainees. Of that nearly $26,000, $7,687 was spent to survey Fort Leavenworth.
President Barack Obama has said that closing the detention facility would “eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool” and “enhance our national security.”
At the same time, Congress has passed defense legislation that bans spending money to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
U.S. Republican Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado sent out a joint news release late Thursday saying the spending was unacceptable and that the administration broke the law.
But one Kansas Democrat in the state Legislature criticized the attorney general’s latest move as political, rather than helpful, to the people of Kansas.
“Derek Schmidt just needs to do his job as Kansas attorney general,” Hensley said. “He’s delving into federal issues when just yesterday, the Kansas Supreme Court was hearing a school finance lawsuit that could involve as much as $800 million in taxpayers’ money to adequately fund our schools.
“He’s not even doing his job when it comes to the school finance lawsuit. But he thinks that this $7,600 that’s being spent at Leavenworth is somehow egregious when he’s not doing his job.”
The Department of Defense declined to comment on the allegations.