Kansas congressman forced to leave committees after charges

A freshman Kansas congressman facing felony criminal charges  over previously listing a UPS Inc. postal box as his residence on a state voter registration form has been forced to temporarily give up his House committee assignments.

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July 17, 2020 - 1:13 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A freshman Kansas congressman facing felony criminal charges  over previously listing a UPS Inc. postal box as his residence on a state voter registration form has been forced to temporarily give up his House committee assignments.

Republican Rep. Steve Watkins said Friday that he is “temporarily and voluntarily” leaving the three committees on which he serves. But the House Republican conference’s rules require members facing a potential felony conviction to leave their committee posts.

Watkins stepped aside from his committees two days after three felony charges and one misdemeanor charges against him were filed by the local district attorney in state district court in Shawnee County, which includes his hometown, the state capital of Topeka. He is accused of voting illegally in a Topeka City Council race in November 2019 and providing false information to a sheriff’s deputy who was investigating whether he broke state election laws.

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