Incoming Wichita mayor’s gala to raise money for wife’s PAC

December 31, 2019 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita’s incoming mayor is planning a formal gala to celebrate his inauguration next month that will raise money for a political action committee run by his wife.

Mayor-elect Brandon Whipple’s plans include individual and corporate sponsorships of up to $2,500 for his Jan. 11 celebration. The Wichita Eagle reports that Whipple said the money won’t be used for his benefit and contributors to the Wichita’s Future PAC will be disclosed in reports filed with the state ethics commission.

“It’s not some dark-money LLC or something that’s untrackable,” Whipple said.

Whipple’s wife, Chelsea, is the PAC’s chairwoman and treasurer. The mayor-elect said the PAC could finance social media surveys, town hall meetings and coffee with the mayor.

Tickets start at a discounted price of $50 for young professionals, half the basic ticket price for Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s inaugural in January 2019.

Kansas law doesn’t limit contributions to PACs.

However, contributions to a governor’s inauguration are limited to $2,000, with the donation amount determined by subtracting the cost of food, services and entertainment from the ticket price.

Kelly’s committee initially wanted to charge up to $10,000 for a 10-person premium seating package but was forced to slash the price to $3,000 when the ethics commission questioned the arrangement.