The state’s biggest publicly owned utility reported more than $400,000 in political spending during the 2020 elections, sprinkling money across the political spectrum.
In a report made to its shareholders, Evergy detailed about $445,000 in political spending for Kansas within the last year, some of which has already been public previously.
The spending wasn’t targeted to any one political ideology, covering a broad range of groups and candidates with various political leanings.
“Like most companies, Evergy builds relationships with public office holders where we do business,” Evergy spokeswoman Gina Penzig said in an email Friday.
“We voluntarily disclose all of our contributions annually, consistent with our policy of transparency and best practices in corporate governance regarding political contributions,” Penzig said.
The company’s report covers about $573,000 in total political spending in Missouri and Kansas for 2020. About $445,000 was spent in Kansas.
Evergy’s presence in the political arena is not unusual since it’s dealing with any number of issues at the Kansas statehouse, although the company’s report gives a flavor for how the company is spending its money in ways that aren’t always visible.
The company, for instance, put $200,000 into two nonprofit social welfare groups, with $100,000 each going to the Kansas Truth Caucus Inc. and Future Vision.
Both groups are incorporated as 501(c)(4) not-for-profits and are not required to disclose their donors.
The Truth Caucus is aligned with conservative lawmakers and candidates and has been led in the past by current Senate President Ty Masterson.
Republican state Rep. Susan Humphries of Wichita is now listed as the group’s president.
Future Vision, meanwhile, was involved in Senate primary races last year where moderate Republicans unsuccessfully fought challenges from conservatives.
The energy company also gave $50,000 to Alliance for a Secure Kansas, which also was involved on behalf of moderate Republicans in several legislative races.
Another $50,000 went to the Right Way Action Fund Inc., which was incorporated by H.J. Swender, an associate of western Kansas industrialist Cecil O’Brate.
It also gave $25,000 to the Kansas Values Institute, a left-leaning nonprofit social welfare group that’s also not required to disclose its donors.
KVI was once run by Ryan Wright, who now works in Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration.
The group, which also has received money from teachers unions such as the Kansas NEA and the American Federation of Teachers, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars last year targeting conservative candidates.
The company also gave another $25,000 to a group called the Liberty First Project, which records show was incorporated by Michelle Schroeder, the Senate president’s chief of staff.
The company also contributed $16,700 to Kansas House candidates, Republicans and Democrats alike.
It also gave another $21,750 to Senate candidates, cover a broad cross-section of Republican and Democrats as well.