Kansas congressman forced to leave committees after charges

Rep. Steve Watkins was charged with three felonies related to illegal voting. He stepped aside from three House committees Friday.


National News

July 17, 2020 - 2:32 PM

Congressman Steve Watkins speaks during a visit in 2019 in Iola. Register file photo

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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