November 5, 2012
PDT Staff Writer
The Ohio State Bar Association Judicial Election Campaign Advertising Monitoring Committee met Saturday to consider a complaint about promotional material contained on the website http://www.oneillforjustice.com. As a result of that meeting, the committee sent a letter to William O’Neill, candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court who is challenging Justice Robert R. Cupp.
“”The committee considers matters pertaining to judicial advertising of which it becomes aware, by written communication via regular mail or electronic mail, from any source based upon the following standard: Campaign advertising that impugns the integrity of the judicial system, the integrity of a candidate for the Supreme Court, or erodes public trust and confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by verbally or visually attempting to lead voters to believe that a candidate will decide issues or cases in a predetermined manner.”
The letter continues: “The committee determined that statements on your website, taken as a whole, violate the standard in that they impugn the integrity both of a candidate and of the court, and imply that justice is for sale,” the committee said. “The committee found that your materials include the phrase ‘money and judges don’t mix,’ then they go on to say that your opponent ‘does not subscribe to that theory.’ The committee was particularly concerned about your assertion in videos on your site that campaign contributors expect more than justice, and that money is being given to the court, not the candidate.”
The committee said what was especially troubling to them was a question in his materials: “what do these contributors expect in return, justice or influence.”
The letter goes on to say that the committee is asking that O’Neill remove and refrain from including statements that “impugn the court’s integrity and imply that justice is for sale.”
The committee mentions in its correspondence that O’Neill is the only candidate for the Supreme Court of Ohio who did not sign their clean campaign pledge, in this election cycle.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.