New Analysis: Outside Spending Surges in Important State Judicial Races as Election Day Nears
"Special interest groups, many of which do not disclose their donors,
have invested heavily in state supreme court races this election cycle,
including pumping more than $1.2 million in outside spending into six
states over the past two weeks, according to an analysis by the Brennan
Center for Justice.
A corporate-funded group dedicated to electing Republicans in
down-ballot races, along with PACs funded by energy companies, business
interests, and trial lawyers, are among the major spenders. Many of
these interests are frequent litigants in state courts, raising the
specter of judges hearing cases involving major campaign supporters —
and concerns that campaign cash could affect decisions in the courtroom.
Other interests — and potential conflicts — remain obscured, as weak
disclosure laws, coupled with the impact of Citizens United and
related campaign finance rulings, make it easy for groups to spend in
secret. Ads that have aired to date suggest that most of these outside
groups will focus on criminal justice issues, including attacking
judges’ decisions as 'soft on crime.'"