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Energy Issues Discussed During Kansas Governor’s Secret Trip to Israel

Reporters are just learning about an unpublicized eight-day trade mission to Israel taken by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in late August and early September where he discussed energy business with the country.

His meeting, according to the Hutchinson News included a lengthy meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper reported the Kansas Commerce Department confirmed Brownback was in Israel from Aug. 26 until Sept. 2 and the trip promoted Kansas businesses.

During the trip, Gov. Brownback and Israel’s energy minister signed a memorandum in Jerusalem that encourages cooperation in the development of techno,logy for water treatment, oil and gas exploration, smart electrical grids and expanding renewable energy.

The trip came weeks after Brownback had been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. During the visit, the governor went to Israeli businesses, stopped at a hospital and held discussions of irrigation and water treatment. Estimated cost of the trip was $32,000.

But the governor’s office issued no news releases during or after the trip. The governor’s wife and youngest child accompanied him on the trip but paid their own way.

A hearing by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled Wednesday for Brownback’s nomination.  If he is confirmed, he will have to resign as governor.