The Alabama State Bar has requested Attorney General Troy King to investigate the conduct of third parties in the recent Supreme Court election. It appears there were numerous complaints from voters and members of the state bar that prompted President Mark White of Birmingham to contact the Attorney General. The false identification of the State Bar as a “rating agency” for judicial candidates was used by one of the campaigns and third-party groups and definitely had an effect on the outcome of this race.
The Attorney General has the sole authority to prosecute violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The Bar Association president asked the Attorney General to investigate whether such third-party interests have violated the laws of the State of Alabama, including the Fair Campaign Practices Act. Those running the false ads and making the false calls were made aware of the falsity of that information. Nevertheless, paid advertising continued to be run right up to and including Election Day.
The State Bar has been working to eliminate judicial campaign activities that undermine public trust and confidence in the judiciary. Everybody’s goal should be a fair, impartial and independent judiciary. During the last two Supreme Court races in Alabama, the State Bar Association took a strong stand against negative attack ads. Unfortunately, that effort had no real effect as evidenced by this year’s Supreme Court race. It will be interesting to see what the Attorney General does with the Bar’s request.
Source: Associated Press
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