Underdog fights back against Colorado legal establishment juggernaut; Clear The Bench Colorado files campaign finance complaint against legal-special-interest-group consortium

Clear The Bench Colorado has been under sustained attack by a number of well-funded special-interest groups for a number of months; from the politically-motivated “campaign finance complaint” filed by “Colorado Ethics Watch” (CEW, pronounced “sue” – it’s what they do) on 5 May 2010 (ruled to be “frivolous, groundless, and vexatious” on 21 July by a judge who also awarded CTBC thousands in legal fees - totaling $23, 712.50, which CEW is now refusing to pay), followed up by a second round of attacks in which they finally got a judge to see things their way (contrary to all logic, and even against the testimony by the Elections director of the Office of Secretary of State).

More recently, Clear The Bench Colorado has been falsely accused of wanting to scrap Colorado’s system of judicial selection & retention to push for partisan elections for judges (most prominently by former justice Jean Dubofsky, who insinuated as much in a televised debate and then, even after being corrected, proceeded to spread the false allegations in print).  We’ve even been accused of being a shill for “secret and powerful special interests” seeking to inject ‘big money’ into judicial elections (which is a total laugh, as anyone who’s seen CTBC’s campaign finance reports can attest).  CTBC’s finances are completely open and accessible to the public, by the way, in contrast to the ‘Colorado Judiciary Project’, a special-interest group which refuses to disclose finances, which is sponsoring Dubofsky’s appearances and publications).

In fact, pretty much all of the entrenched legal-establishment special-interest groups have brought out the big guns against Clear The Bench Colorado.

Why?

For reminding Colorado voters of our right to vote in judicial retention elections, providing a substantive evaluation of the performance of judicial incumbents at the highest levels (particularly for the incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices), and urging voters to exercise their rights on the ballot.

Over the last few months (since August), a consortium of the entrenched legal-establishment special-interest groups has been running advertisements in print, on the radio and on television to convince Colorado voters that “all is well” with our judicial incumbents; in fact, this special-interest-group consortium has spent over $85,000 to run over 4,000 ads on radio and television in September and August alone – in support of the incumbents at the top levels (pretty soon, you’re talking real money).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with spending money on advertisements; but this special-interest group hasn’t been following the rules…

Other groups (including Clear The Bench Colorado) engaging in political advocacy or electioneering communications (talking about candidates on the ballot) must file as a political committee with the Office of Secretary of State.  These organizations – either individually or collectively – have NOT filed the required registration, nor have they filed the required reports.  They have also collected and spent money FAR above the $525 contribution limit that applies to contributions for political committees.

The rules apply to both sides in any contested issue or campaign.

Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent by these organizations with no accountability or transparency, in sharp contrast to Clear the Bench Colorado - which has followed the ever-changing law to the letter (despite all the changes) - while conducting similar political advocacy activities.

In a clear case of “what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander,” Clear the Bench Colorado simply wants these organizations held to the same legal standard as is everyone else in the state.

To that end, we have filed a campaign finance complaint against this consortium of entrenched legal-establishment special-interest groups (collectively and as individual organizations) to ensure that they follow the same rules as everyone else.

If Clear the Bench receives a favorable judgment, these organizations will be subject to fees ($50 per day that they didn’t file) as well as fines of 2-5 times the contribution totals above and beyond the $525 contribution limit for a political committee (which, since these groups spent at least $85,000, will add up to a hefty sum).

These groups, with armies of accountants and lawyers at their beck and call, should (and do) know better.  Apparently, they thought that they could get away with violating the law, since CTBC’s resources (and ability to challenge their activities) have been strained almost to the breaking point.  However, they messed with the wrong guy…

Clear The Bench Colorado may be the underdog in this fight – but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but the size of the fight in the dog.  CTBC doesn’t have armies of attorneys and accountants on call – but CTBC is… an Army of One.

Be a citizen, not a subject – get informed, then exercise your right to vote “NO” this November on the four (er, three remaining) ‘unjust justices’ of the Colorado Supreme Court’s “Mullarkey Majority” – (Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, soon minus Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey,  who’s resigning rather than face the voters ) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your home or business against seizure via eminent domain abuse, your right to be fairly represented in the legislature and Congress, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.”  Continue to support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and contributions – and vote “NO” on giving these unjust justices another 10-year term!

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