Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A cautionary tale about judicial fundraising

FWIW readers will have noted a number of posts here about judicial candidate fundraisers. Judicial campaigns ask supporters to buy tickets for $50 or $100 or $125 -- but campaigns are always willing to take more, if possible (subject to the campaign disclosure laws, of course). So most fundraisers offer sponsorship levels, just in case enthusiastic supporters have money to spare.

Some sponsorship levels are fairly bland (silver - gold - platinum); others are more creative (stalwart - hero - champion).

But creativity has its limits, as Michael W. Hoskins explains in "Commission slaps judge over fundraising solicitation," an article that appeared November 30 on IBJ.com, the website of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Hoskins relates the sad tale of Marion Superior Judge Rebekah Pierson-Treacy. For an August fundraiser, Judge Pierson-Treacy sent an invitation with "suggested contribution levels – $150 to be designated as a 'Sustained' contributor, $250 to be 'Affirmed,' $500 to be 'So Ordered' and $1,000 for a 'Favorable Ruling.'" This drew the interest of the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications. The Commission recently issued an "admonishment" to Judge Pierson-Treacy:
“There is no evidence the judge intended to barter rulings for contributions,” the public admonishment says. “Nonetheless, the content of the invitation presented a negative view of the judiciary. Although Judge Pierson-Treacy’s stated intent may have been to make the traditional graduated donation levels more entertaining, the injudicious language in her invitation likely gave the impression to members of the general public that the judge’s rulings could be influenced by campaign contributions.”
Sometimes bland is better. It's certainly safer, particularly in judicial campaigns.

1 comment:

Albert said...

I wonder what $2000 will get you!

Maybe "Park Anywhere."