UPDATE: Protest planned on 'dark money' in judicial races | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UPDATE: Protest planned on 'dark money' in judicial races

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 11:38 AM

The Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association announces a news conference tomorrow to express concern about "dark money" — money from an anonymous sources — being spent in Arkansas judicial races. Retired Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber Tuck will participate and all Supreme Court candidates are invited.

This presumably is a reaction, in the main, to the major ad buys by a Virgnia group of unknown membership and financial support that has made a huge TV ad buy across Arkansas slamming Tim Cullen, who's oppossing Appeals Court Judge Robin Wynne in a race for an open Supreme Court seat. There's been talk of other outside money figuring in judicial races this month, but if it's out there it hasn't yet been as prominent as spending by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America.

UPDATE: The group is interested broadly in dark money. An anonymous group is also spending a huge sum to help elect David Sterling, the Republican candidate for attorney general. A variety of groups with secretive funding are participating in races for legislature and other lesser offices.

ATLA, whose members generally represent plaintiffs in lawsuits, said a diverse group of  "concerned citizens, various community organizations and the legal community" will gather at the Capitol at noon Thursday. The Arkansas Citizens First Congress is among the sponsoring groups.

The announcement said: 

So-called “dark money” is being used by out-of-state special interest groups to funnel money into Arkansas judicial races, damaging the sanctity of the independent judiciary by giving the appearance that justice can be bought in Arkansas.

Justice can also be bought wit "light" money, of course. In years past, bankers organized to beat a Supreme Court justice who issued a usury decision they didn't like, to name one. Nursing home money has become a prominent factor in races. Also trial lawyer money.

I don't think we want to elect judges, really. But then I heard today of a movement afoot to change Court of Appeals races, now elected, to appointment. This would be possible under the constitutional judicial article by vote of the legislature. It would be a sure money-raiser for gubernatorial candidates, because the governor would be at the top of the appointment process.

Speaking of judicial elections: For another day a hot rumor about plans afoot to do something about the law that forces judges to retire after they turn 70 or else lose retirement benefits. (Disclosure: I have no dog in this hunt. My wife is neither 70 nor planning to UNretire.)

UPDATE: Blue Hog says Cullen will attend. No word yet from Wynne. He also offers some speculative analysis that the dark money this year is about testing the efficacy of such spending with an eye toward 2016 a bigger prize in court seats, chief justice.

Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation