03/20/2014 11:43 pm ET Updated Mar 21, 2014

Tim Huelskamp's March Madness Campaign Ploy May Be Illegal

A Republican congressman's plan to use March Madness tickets to bring in campaign donations may have backfired.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) offered supporters the opportunity to win NCAA basketball tickets if they made a minimum $10 contribution to his campaign.

But Charles Branson, the district attorney in Douglas County, called the pitch an "explicit" violation of Kansas law.

"This office received an inquiry from a citizen," Branson wrote Tuesday in a letter to Huelskamp's office. "This office receives such inquiries from time to time, and our answer is always the same. Such contests are illegal lotteries under Kansas law."

Huelskamp's campaign said it sent a second email to supporters, telling them they were eligible for the tickets with or without a donation. Campaign spokesman Josh Bell said Tuesday the change makes the contest "a drawing, which is legal under Kansas law."

The campaign accused Branson, a Democrat, of "misusing his official office in an attempt to score cheap political points."

"As a lifelong Kansas State fan, I refuse to be intimidated by a Lawrence attorney likely still reeling from the 31-10 football blowout this fall and the 85-82 overtime victory by the Wildcats just last month," Huelskamp said.



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