By Judge Marilyn Zayas
The Judicial Election Advertising Monitoring Committee, an arm of the Ohio State Bar Association that monitors political advertising during elections, is calling on an out-of-state PAC to revise or take down a television ad that is misleading and violates standards for campaign conduct in attacking three well-respected judges running for the Ohio Supreme Court.
The target of the negative ads are Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals (Hamilton County), 10th District Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner.
The ad is being run by an out-of-state PAC called the Republican State Leadership Committee that is spending millions of dollars on the deceptive ads. It falsely accuses the candidates of being “reckless” and “soft” on crime.
The out-of-state Republican PAC’s ad “violates the (OSBA Monitoring) Committee standards and serves to erode public trust and confidence in the judiciary.” The Ohio State Bar Association monitors ads in judicial elections and has a different code of conduct for judges because the OSBA believes judicial candidates should be held to the highest standards when asking voters for support. The ad monitoring committee for the OSBA, founded in 2002, brings attention to ads “when it has encountered campaign communications that impugn the integrity of the court or attempt to lead people to think a candidate might decide a case in a predetermined manner.”
In addition to monitoring ads, the OSBA Monitoring Committee has asked all six candidates running for the Ohio Supreme Court to sign a clean campaign pledge. Zayas, Jamison and Brunner have signed the pledge. The Republican candidates, who stand to benefit from the misleading ad that violates the standards for campaign conduct, have not.
In a letter sent by the OSBA to the out-of-state PAC, the Ad Monitoring Committee writes…”We ask that you discontinue the ad in question or revise it to provide more clarity and context for the cases you reference. While we support your constitutional right to vigorously make the case for the candidates you support for our state’s highest court, we encourage you to do so without using misleading terms or rhetoric that further damage public trust in the independence, integrity and impartiality of our judicial system.”