Rich Robinson: Time to Assess Secret Money in MI Judicial Elections

Michigan needs greater transparency in judicial campaign spending and the process of filling supreme court vacancies, says Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Robinson and Susan Smith from the League of Women Voters are planning four forums in February and March to address potential changes to the state’s campaign finance laws and judicial selection process concerning high court vacancies, says the Daily Tribune.

Robinson is particularly interested in discussing how a major portion of the money spent for advertisements in November’s judicial elections came from “undisclosed sources.” “The issue ads were the equivalent of a drive-by shooting,” Robinson says of the TV advertisements.

Both Smith and Robinson want to see a change in state law over how the governor chooses a candidate for a supreme court vacancy. Gov. Rick Snyder has an opportunity to appoint a new justice soon now that Justice Diane Hathaway, facing mortgage fraud charges, has retired, the article says.

Colleen O’Brien, a Republican candidate in the 2012 election, will be the likely pick according to Robinson. He also says he would like for Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to require sources of advertising in judicial campaigns to be identified and open to the public.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network and the League of Women Voters are Justice at Stake partner organizations.

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