GOP claims Kansas governor is spending COVID funds illegally

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FILE – In this Wednesday, July 28, 2021, file photo Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators in Kansas are accusing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration of illegally spending at least $86 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds by not getting their approval first.

Kelly’s office didn’t respond Tuesday to a letter from Senate President Ty Masterson, House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. and the House and Senate budget committee chairs.

In the letter, the lawmakers threaten to explore filing a lawsuit if Kelly does not change course.

The Republicans say a budget measure requires legislative leaders’ consent for any spending of relief dollars starting July 1. Kelly’s office contends agencies already have the authority to spend relief dollars.

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