An Arkansas judicial campaign watchdog group has issued a cease and desist letter to an out-of-state group running ads against Little Rock attorney Clark Mason in the race for an associate state Supreme Court justice spot. The group, consisting mostly of current and former Arkansas Judges and legal professionals, called the Arkansas Campaign Conduct and Education Committee, Inc. was formed to respond to false or misleading advertising in the state’s judicial races.
Based on a complaint from Mason’s campaign, they called on the Washington DC-based Republican State Leadership Committee' Judicial Fairness Initiative to stop flyers linking Mason to President Obama’s executive orders. Mason is running against Mountain Home Circuit Judge Shawn Womack for the open Supreme Court spot.
The Arkansas group's "Rapid Response Team" elaborated on the misleading flyers in a press release:
One point on the flyer alleges that Mason “admits his support for Obama’s executive actions that kill Arkansas jobs while making trial lawyers rich.” A footnote refers the reader to a blog at www.clarkmason.com, which is a part of the Mason legal firm’s Web site. On that page is a Jan. 15 press article about former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.
Ryan West, an official of the Mason campaign organization, complained to the Rapid Response Team that “I don’t see how that story on Mike Maggio has anything to do with Clark supporting presidential orders that kill “jobs and make lawyers rich.’”
The state's other Supreme Court race features Associate Justice Courtney Goodson and Circuit Judge Dan Kemp contending for the position of Chief Justice. In that race, a so-called "dark money" group, the Judicial Crisis Network, has reportedly bough more than a half million dollars in television ads attacking Goodson.