Committee Invests Money to Unseat Judge
Paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows their only stated goal is to unseat Judge Thomas Brown. In the last week they've spent more money than both candidates combined, and that has some in the legal community concerned. Advertising in Jefferson City caught Cole County Circuit Judge Thomas Brown by surprise.
"It is unprecedented to have people from outside of the state of Missouri with no connection to the local population or local issues at all to come in and spend more than twice as much money in the last week than both my opponent and I are spending in the entire campaign," he said.
Neither Brown nor his opponent Jon Beetem's campaign say they could see these radio, TV or mass mailing ads coming. Brown says the ads are blaming him for decisions the Missouri Public Service Commission has made, like utility rate hikes. But judicial powers are limited to approving or striking down legislation, not initiating it.
"These attacks are timed so that you can't respond to them. They sling this mud in such a way that you really don't have an honest opportunity to respond to it," Beetem said.
Members of the legal community like former President of the Missouri Bar Dale Doerhoff, are worried about the impact these expensive, last minute, and out-of-state campaigns can have.
"You have the appearance that if the winner was backed by powerful monied interest groups that the people get the impression that it's not really a fair court anymore," said Doerhoff.
KOMU tried to contact the Committee for Judicial Reform's treasurer, but was unable to get in touch with him.