Sunday, June 01, 2008

Supreme Court campaign

Much has been said about the recent race between Justice Joel Horton and John Bradbury. One of Bradbury's key points was that Justices should be elected and stand before the people instead of being appointed. That both Justices Schroeder and Trout resigned early in order to allow the Governor to appoint the replacement seemed to Bradbury to give too much power to the Gov. For what it's worth, I think it would be nice to have a more independent judiciary, and appointment just allows the Gov, whoever the Gov is, to further embed his political philosophy into government.

On the other hand, lots of folks think that elected judges will politicize the office and will cause them to be beholden to donors.

Anyway, let's look at the candidates' financing. We won't know the full picture until later in the month when the post election reports are filed, but through May 11, here's the picture.

Bradbury funded his campaign with $25,000 on March 11, and with another $100,000 on April 25, for a total of $125,000. No other donations shown. It also looks to be donations, not loans.

Horton loaned his campaign $10,000 on March 14. Horton reported $62,050 in donations through May 11 from about 150 donors, including lots of lawyers who potentially will have cases in front of the Supreme Court. On May 15, Horton loaned himself $30,000, and on May 23 he loaned $20,000. Total reported loans, $60,000. Total of loans and contributions, $122,050.

Now that Horton has won, and since he has $60,000 in debt, will he hold fundraisers to retire the debt? That sounds dicey to me.


Colleen said...

It’s not just the campaign contributions that come to my attention. As noted in Sisphus's blog story "Conflict of Interest", is there any word on whether or not there was indeed a conflict of interest regarding the relationship between Horton’s treasurer and Simplot Inc. and Horton having decided the case between the farmers and Simplot Inc. to the tune of a $2 million Pro Simplot reverse ruling? Seems that at least mentioning to the farmers’ defense team that there was a connection between his treasurer and Simplot Inc. would have been warranted.

Clayton said...

What makes fundraisers worse than campaign contributions before the election?

alan said...

Clayton, fundraisers seem more direct, to me. A campaign contribution has the element of risk; the guy might lose. A post-election debt retirement donation is made to a sitting Justice, one who will be there for a while. You know that your contribution will be fore a person in power.

Colleen, I'd like to know more about the Simplot case. I looked around the Supreme Court website, recent cases, and didn't see a Simplot case. I can't say that anything improper happened at this point. I give great credence to Sisyphus, but I just don't have the facts to reach my own conclusion.