“Topeka Capital-Journal learned the months-long inquiry involves Parallel Strategies, a rapidly expanding Topeka consulting and lobbying firm created in 2013 by a trio of veteran Brownback employees who left government service to work in an environment where coziness with former colleagues could pay dividends.
Of concern to the FBI were behind-the-scenes financial arrangements related to Brownback’s privatization of the state’s $3 billion Medicaid program. The governor’s branding of KanCare handed to three for-profit insurance companies exclusive contracts to provide Medicaid services to 380,000 of Kansas’ disabled and poor.
Owners of Parallel Strategies, who also maintain separate individual lobbying firms, declined requests to discuss for this story emergence of their influential joint franchise, which includes on its client list the governor himself.
Parallel Strategies was founded by David Kensinger, Brownback’s former chief of staff and campaign manager and current director of the governor’s political organization Road Map Solutions; George Stafford, a longtime fundraiser, employee and adviser to Brownback; and Riley Scott, a senior staff member to Brownback while he was in the U.S. Senate and son-in-law of Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita.
“Thanks for reaching out,” Scott said, “but I’m not interested.”
The FBI also has looked into activities of individual legislators and lobbyists unaffiliated with Parallel Strategies.
KanCare, launched in January 2013 and expanded in February, is arguably the most far-reaching reform of Brownback’s first term.
Kensinger was the governor’s chief of staff during formative construction of KanCare, but quit two months before contracts were signed with AmeriGroup Kansas, United Healthcare of the Midwest and Sunflower State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene. These contractors now employ as lobbyists one of Kensinger’s partners at Parallel Strategies, Kensinger’s former lobbying partner and a one-time Brownback deputy Cabinet secretary.”