Clear The Bench Colorado wins opening rounds in legal battle over “Know Your Judge” campaign finance law violations

As reported in Friday’s Face The State (“Judge clears the way for Clear the Bench“),

plaintiff Clear the Bench Colorado (CTBC) has won some key battles in its effort to prove that a consortium of groups behind the Know Your Judge website constituted a political committee that failed to comply with laws governing spending and electioneering.

Last week, an administrative law judge denied a motion by Know Your Judge to quash CTBC’s subpoenas and another motion seeking a protective order limiting the amount of discovery in the case.

The victory is all the more remarkable because the case against the “Know Your Judge” consortium is being argued by a non-attorney: CTBC’s citizen-soldier Director Matt Arnold.  Despite a litany of legal maneuvering and a barrage of legal briefs filed by the high-powered (and highly-paid) attorneys representing the legal-establishment special-interest groups making up the “Know Your Judge” Campaign, it was CTBC’s clear, concise reasoning that won the day:

Know Your Judge, which is represented by a team of lawyers – including former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll – said in its motion to quash that the subpoenas were irrelevant, unreasonable and overly broad.

CTBC’s Response Brief demonstrated otherwise, laying out the grounds for requested discovery (getting the facts, which KYJ’s defense attorneys attempted to suppress) and the judge agreed:

Judge Judith Schulman was unconvinced by Know Your Judge’s motions, writing that “intent clearly is a relevant factor in establishing the elements of CTBC’s claim that Respondents constituted a political committee.” She also denied the defendants motion for a protective order, noting they’d failed to show that the records requested under subpoena contained any “privileged or private information that requires special protection.”

Although the legal game is far from over, at the end of the first period of play, so far it’s Underdog: 2, Big Bad Lawyers: 0

Score another one for the underdog!

As the Face The State article notes:

The matter is currently scheduled for a hearing Feb. 23. If the complaint is upheld, the defendants can be levied fines of $50 per day for late reporting, plus two to five times the amount of contributions. The latter fine would equal between $170,000 and $425,000.

The fight to reform Colorado’s corrupt legal/judicial complex continues.  Clear The Bench Colorado is working to hold the consortium of legal-establishment special-interest groups who attempted (and may have succeeded in) buying the election for their buddies on the bench accountable for violations of Colorado campaign finance law.  Longer term, Clear The Bench Colorado will work with legislators and others interested in reforming the systemic shortcomings of Colorado’s “merit selection & retention” system to increase transparency and accountability to the public.  For both endeavors, we would appreciate your continued support – via your comments (Sound Off!) and, yes, your contributions.  Freedom isn’t free –nor is it always easy to be a Citizen, not a subject.

Ultimately, though – it’s worth the effort.

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