District attorney seeks to oust embattled Wichita councilman

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Sedgwick County district attorney's office has filed a civil petition seeking the ouster of a Wichita city councilman for his role in a plot to frame the local GOP chairman for a false ad against a mayoral candidate.

District Attorney Marc Bennett in a filing Tuesday seeks a court hearing and an order suspending James Clendenin from any duties of office pending a final determination of the case.

He accuses Clendenin of misconduct while in office, making false allegations against the chairman of the county’s Republican party and soliciting financial donations to a charity to be used in a political campaign.

Clendenin referred inquiries to his attorney, who declined comment.

Clendenin is one of three Republican officials who faced calls to resign following the release of a recording made in November 2019, just two days before then-Democratic state Rep. Brandon Whipple won the Wichita mayor’s race.

On the recording, the three men could be heard plotting to frame Sedgwick County’s GOP chairman for a YouTube ad that falsely suggested Whipple was accused of sexual harassment while serving in the Legislature.

Michael O’Donnell resigned earlier this month from the Sedgwick County Commission after Bennett concluded there was sufficient evidence to begin ouster proceedings. An investigation into state Rep Michael Capps has been referred to the Kansas attorney general’s office.