Michael Capps, a former Kansas lawmaker who once sponsored a bill to put the words “In God We Trust” in every federal building, has been found guilty of committing COVID relief fraud and money laundering.
His career wasn’t supposed to end this way. In 2018, the Republican was appointed to the Kansas State House and won his own election bid later that year. Like other members of his party, he used his time in office to push Christianity on everyone. That’s why, in addition to his anti-trans and anti-abortion bills, Capps sponsored a bill to put “In God We Trust” in public buildings, including public schools.
Capps even defended the bill by citing former president John Adams: “Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
That bill eventually died in committee, but Capps’ point was clear: It was necessary to promote religion and morality because, in his mind, those two things were synonymous.
In 2020, when he ran for re-election, one of his campaign ads even opened with the line, “We’ve brought God back into our schools!” (That was a lie, but there you have it.)
An indictment filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas says Capps bilked federal, state and local agencies for more than $450,000 in COVID-19 business recovery funds.
… Capps inflated his payroll and applied for loans to pay employees who don’t exist, according to the indictment.
The federal indictment says Capps laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID relief funding through his businesses and charity between May and August 2020.
Why did Capps do it? Maybe because the words “In God We Trust” weren’t on the walls of his office building. Or maybe because criminals are criminals and Christianity makes for a great cover story to stop people from looking over you shoulder while you’re working on a scam.
Whatever the reason, a jury has now found Michael Capps guilty on 12 felony charges (out of a possible 18):
Capps defrauded Emprise Bank, U.S. Small Business Administration and Kansas Department of Commerce out of $355,550 in COVID-19 recovery funds, the jury found. He then transferred the money through business and personal accounts, including some money that went into investment funds.
Capps remains out on bond while he awaits his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for March 10. He could face millions of dollars in fines and decades in prison.
He should be excited. That’s plenty of time to read the Bible over and over.
The Wichita Eagle noted last year that this was hardly Capps’ only controversy:
The one-term Republican lawmaker served as District 85’s state representative from 2018 to 2020, when he was defeated by Patrick Penn in the Republican primary amid allegations that he had offered a Black lawmaker campaign cash in exchange for a photo op and that he donated money to Planned Parenthood in Penn’s name.
That same election cycle, the Kansas Department for Children and Families found that he emotionally abused boys as a court-appointed volunteer. The investigation’s findings were reversed on a technicality, and Capps won his race.
There was so much more where that came from, including allegations that he didn’t live in his district, participated in a dark money scheme, and falsely accused a Democratic lawmaker of sexual harassment.
Again: This was a guy who spent his time in office pretending that Jesus made you a better person. He was a liar then. He’s a liar now. He’s a perfect example of why you should never trust a politician who takes the Bible more seriously than the Constitution.
(Portions of this article were published earlier)