Justice Courtney Goodson responds to dark money attacks | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 4, 2018

Justice Courtney Goodson responds to dark money attacks

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 8:05 AM

As we reported on the blog yesterday, the Judicial Crisis Network, a right-wing advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., is again spending big to defeat Associate Justice Courtney Goodson in a race for Arkansas Supreme Court. It's a "dark money" group — its political advertisements sure look like campaign ads, but they avoid certain words like "vote for." Under a loophole in campaign finance law, as long as they avoid such "express advocacy" under the law, they are  not required to disclose their donors.

Goodson responded in a video she posted on social media, which she dubbed "my response to the lying bullies."

"Dark money strikes again," she said, "and I want to speak directly to it." Playing to her audience, perhaps, she called the attack ads "fake news."

In 2016, the Judicial Crisis Network — a well-funded political nonprofit devoted to trying to advance a right-wing agenda through the state and federal judiciary (and via elections for attorneys general) — poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into TV ads and direct mail opposing Goodson in her campaign for Chief Justice. Goodson, facing off against Dan Kemp in the most expensive judicial election in the state's history, lost that race, but retained her position as associate justice. Now she's running for re-election against David Sterling, an attorney for the state Department of Human Services, and state Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson. The Judicial Crisis Network also took the side of Sterling, a tedious right-wing extremist, with big ad buys in the 2014 attorney general's race.

This year's dark money TV spots hit Goodson with similar attacks to those lodged by the group in 2016 (the $50,000 trip to Italy she reported as a gift on her disclosure forms and the fact that trial lawyers donated significant amounts to her campaign) and also adds a new attack, criticizing her for the request made by her former rival, Chief Justice Dan Kemp, for a bigger pay bump for Supreme Court justices (Andrew Demillo fisks this latest line of attack in a factcheck article for the AP).


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