Every attendee of Sebelius’ dinner party for late-term abortionist George R. Tiller and his abortion clinic staff are identified.
By Cheryl Sullenger
Updated on April 11, 2009
When we take a closer look at Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ ever-changing story about a party for late-term abortionist George R. Tiller that she hosted at Cedar Crest in April, 2007, her account just doesn’t add up. If the governor isn’t telling the truth – and we believe the available evidence supports that she is not – then we are left with some very serious ethical questions about the integrity of the Governor’s office.
Operation Rescue obtains photographs
Operation Rescue first obtained news of the dinner and photos documenting the event from a source that was present at the dinner. While Sebelius entertained Tiller and the entire staff of his abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, TIller was under criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s office, which led to the filing of 19 criminal charges against him for committing illegal late term abortions. Also at that time, the Legislature was considering a resolution forcing the Attorney General to charge Tiller, amid intense public pressure.
Kansas Open Records Demands
An OR staff member placed a Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) demand for information about entertainment expenditures at the governor’s official residence, Cedar Crest, on April 29, 2008.
On May 9, 2008, the Associated Press also filed its own KORA demand for information about the Tiller dinner.
After nearly a month of almost daily excuses for not producing the requested information, JyLynn Copp, the Governor’s Chief Counsel, finally produced documents to Operation Rescue. Those documents contained no mention of Tiller or his abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, in a list of events that included an entry for April 9, 2007, with the notation “Women’s Political Caucus Auction Reception (reimbursement by the greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus).” When the Associated Press received documentation of the same event, that notation was missing.
However, receipts for the dinner clearly showed that the bill was paid for by the State of Kansas. There was no documentation to substantiate the claims that the dinner expenses had been reimbursed.
Release of photos stuns the public
Five days later, Operation Rescue released a dozen of the photographs from the event, calling it a “lavish secret party” based on the account of the event given us by our source who affirmed that it was a special “invitation only” party meant to honor Tiller and his abortion clinic staff, and the fact that the Open Records information made no mention of Tiller. We released the photos after an account of the party was mentioned by nationally-known columnist Robert Novak in the Washington Post on May 26, 2008. The story immediately drew national attention.
Damage control causes damage
In response, Gov. Sebelius attempted to diminish the impact of the photos by telling reporters on May 28, 2008, that Tiller purchased the dinner, which she had donated to the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus at the group’s annual Torch Dinner “a year and a half ago or so.” (View video of that interview.) She said she had no control over who bid on the dinner. She also indicated that since the dinner was political in nature, the GKC Women’s Political Caucus had reimbursed the State of Kansas for the expenses.
However, a search of the GKC Women’s Political Caucus contribution and expenditure reports on file with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission showed no contribution from Tiller, his wife, Jeanne, or his abortion business, Women’s Health Care Services, during either 2006 or 2007. Neither was there any record in those reports of any payment to the State of Kansas, Cedar Crest, or the Governor’s Office for the dinner expenses.
Dinners donated by Sebelius in other years have been for six people. There is no evidence that a “dinner for twenty-five,” the number that attended this event, was ever auctioned.
Governors’ Office continues spin-doctoring
News broke the following day that there was no evidence to support Gov. Sebelius’ story about the dinner. Reporters began to press the Governor’s Office about it. On June 2, 2008, her press secretary, Nichole Cochran, released an e-mailed statement to reporters massaging the story and making new claims.
Now, according to that statement, Tiller allegedly purchased the auctioned dinner in 2005, not “a year and a half ago” as Sebelius originally stated. Cochran also finally admitted that the dinner had not been reimbursed until May 23, 2008, the same day the Governor’s Office finally answered Operation Rescue’s KORA demand.
UPDATE: A search of the GKCWPC expenditure report that includes May 23, 2008, and several months around that time indicate NO reimbursement expenditure was ever made to the state.
Sebelius’ new story doesn’t add up, either.
Further inspection of the 2005 receipts and expenditure report of the GKC Women’s Political Caucus indicate that there was a donation made at the group’s 2005 Torch Dinner by Tiller’s Political Action Committee, ProKanDo, in the amount of $2,500, the cost of a table sponsorship.
If Tiller bought the dinner in 2005, through ProKanDo, certain details of the event supported by the photographs simply do not add up.
UPDATE: During Sebelius’ confirmation process for her nomination as Health and Human Services Secretary under President Barack Obama, Sebelius answered written questions posed by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. In her written answers, [See pg. 103], she stated that she donated the dinner to a “non-pofit”, which was purchased by Tiller in 2006. Records prove this is inaccurate on two points. First, the GKCWPC is a Political Action Committe, NOT a non-profit group. Expenditure reports clearly show that the GKCWPC PAC is responsible for the annual Torch Dinners. Secondly, there is absolutely no record of any money being given to the GKCWPC by Tiller, his wife, his abortion cclinic, or his PAC, ProKanDo, at any time in 2006.
The records prove that Sebelius’ story about the Tiller dinner being an auction prize is manufactured out of whole cloth, and that there is not one shred of evidence to back it up.
Why would Tiller buy the dinner in 2005, something Sebelius now denies, then not use it for two years, especially with Sebelius up for re-election in 2006, and may well have lost?
Why was the dinner allegedly purchased through ProKanDo, then not used to honor his hard-working ProKanDo staff? Even now, PKD Director Julie Burkhart’s salary is paid directly by Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services abortion clinic. Why not bring her along? Evidence shows neither that Burkhart nor any of the PKD staff attended the Cedar Crest party. (See photo below.) In fact, the 2005 contribution of $2,500 was simply to purchase a table sponsorship at the Torch Dinner one full year before Sebelius now says that she donated the dinner that she says was bought by Tiller.
None of Sebelius’ story about the 2007 Cedar Crest party for Tiller and his entire abortion clinic staff adds up, nor is it supported by official public records.
“That’s because the event was and invitation only dinner meant to honor Tiller and his abortion clinic staff. That’s what our source, who attended the party, told us, and that is what all the evidence and developments in this story support,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
“Every time Sebelius has floated a story, she has had to come back and massage it, once it was discovered that there were holes in the documentation,” continued Newman. “In fact, we still have not seen any documentation that the dinner was reimbursed by the Women’s Political Caucus. We have only seen her spokesperson’s word, which hasn’t been worth a whole lot concerning this affair.”
That leaves us with some serious ethical questions. Did Gov. Sebelius lie about Tiller having purchased the dinner, and that she had no control over whom she would entertain? If so, what else has she lied about? If she’s willing to lie to cover up her relationship with Tiller, what would she do to make sure Tiller’s hefty campaign checks keep rolling?
“This casts a huge question on the honesty of the Governor’s Office and all the agencies she controls through political appointments,” said Newman. “This could very well be just the tip of the iceberg in a huge abortion corruption scandal that touches vast areas of Kansas government. That would certainly explain a lot about why for years Kansas abortion laws have not been enforced and Tiller has evaded one attempt after another to bring him to justice.”
“We fully expect to see more revelations on this topic in the coming weeks,” he said.
Pictured above are the attendees of the April 9, 2008, dinner hosted by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius at Cedar Crest in honor of late-term abortionist George R. Tiller and the staff of his abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services.
1. Mary Lou Carhart, wife of Nebraska abortionist LeRoy Carhart. She works occasionally at Tiller’s abortion clinic when her husband is on duty there.
2. Sara Phares-Brown, an office worker at WHCS.
3. Vilka Bass, the WHCS cleaning lady.
4. Jeanne Tiller, George’s wife and co-owner of WHCS.
5. Meghan Lloyd, an abortion worker no longer employed at WHCS.
6. George Tiller
7. LeRoy Carhart, best known for defending before the U.S. Supreme Court the now outlawed live Partial Birth Abortion method. Carhart owns an abortion mill in Bellevue, Nebraska, but works for Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, every third week.
8. JoAn Armentrout, the WHCS clinic administrator
9. Vilka Bass’ mom, who helps clean WHCS.
10. Avelino Baguyos, an Episcopalian minister who baptizes aborted babies at Tiller’s WHCS and counsels women that God approves of their abortions.
11. Edna Roach, an unlicensed worker who delivers the aborted babies, and performs other medical duties that only licensed nurses are qualified to perform.
12. Abortionist Susan Robinson, who comes to WHCS every third week to work for George Tiller. Robinson lives in Ukiah, California.
13. Abortionist Shelley Sella, who is a circuit-riding abortionist based in Oakland, California, who also works for Planned Parenthood. Sella works at WHCS every third week, sharing a rotating schedule with Carhart and Robinson.
14. Deborah Esquina, a WHCS office worker.
15. Liz Gomes, an Episcopalian minister who shares duties with Avelino Baguyos, baptizing aborted babies and misleading women into thinking that God approves of abortion.
16. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
17. Lisa Stockham, a WHCS office worker who is no longer employed there.
18. Margurite Reed, a WHCS office worker who made the 911 call when 19 year old Christin Gilbert lay dying from a botched third trimester abortion. Reed is no longer employed by WHCS.
19. Cathy Reavis, WHCS Patient Coordinator. Reavis acts as the “head nurse” but has no nursing license on file with the State of Kansas.
20. Tina David, the only licensed nurse on Tiller’s staff. Davis no longer works for WHCS.
21. Touy Keomany, an unlicensed worker who starts IVs, administers anesthesia, and performs other medical duties for which she is unqualified.
22. Betty Pulliam, long time friend of Tiller’s who still works part-time at WHCS. Pulliam is the past-president of the American Gold Star Mothers. She lost a son in the Viet Nam War.
23. NOT PICTURED, but present at the dinner: Bonnie Rhodes-Moss, the WHCS night security.