Judicial campaign ethics group sends cease and desist letter to out-of-state PAC | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Judicial campaign ethics group sends cease and desist letter to out-of-state PAC

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 8:32 AM

SLIMER: A Republican PAC is pouring money into the Arkansas Supreme Court race, including misleading mailers attacking Clark Mason.
  • SLIMER: A Republican PAC is pouring money into the Arkansas Supreme Court race, including misleading mailers attacking Clark Mason.

The Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee issued a cease-and-desist letter yesterday to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), an out-of-state PAC pouring money into the Arkansas Supreme Court race between Circuit Judge Shawn Womack and Little Rock attorney Clark Mason

The Campaign Conduct & Education Committee is a Little Rock-based non-profit group that aims to expose "false communications ... authorized by third party groups or super PACs," according to its website. The group's letter refers to a campaign flyer issued by RSLC attacking Mason, which the group "contends is a false and misleading reference."

The group's contention is really that the ad is unethical and wildly misleading, rather than illegal, so the RSLC is unlikely to respond to the cease and desist.

From the press release, here's an overview of their complaint: 

One point on the flyer alleges that Mason “admits his support for Obama’s executive actions that kill Arkansas jobs while making trial lawyers rich.” A footnote refers the reader to a blog at www.clarkmason.com, which is a part of the Mason legal firm’s Web site. On that page is a Jan. 15 press article about former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.

Ryan West, an official of the Mason campaign organization, complained to the Rapid Response Team that “I don’t see how that story on Mike Maggio has anything to do with Clark supporting presidential orders that kill “jobs and make lawyers rich.’”

The 5-member team, formed to monitor advertising and other promotional materials in the Arkansas appellate court races this year, met Saturday at Little Rock and reviewed the complaint, the flyer and the reference.

The team found that the flyer did not provide factual support for its allegation and was therefore false and misleading. A letter was sent to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which has headquarters in Washington, D.C., allowing a full business day to respond. When no response was received, a cease-and-desist letter was issued and sent to the committee.

The flyer is indeed absurd. Tough to keep the fact-checking fingers in the dam given the flood of spending in judicial campaigns by out-of-state groups and dark money propagandists. 

Here's the group's cease and desist letter. 

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