Judge Joe Donald slams Rebecca Bradley’s hyper-partisan campaign tactics
Asks other candidates to join in new pledge to forgo special interest money & partisan help
MILWAUKEE – Judge Joe Donald, candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, today denounced the news of a shadowy outside group purchasing campaign ads in support of Rebecca Bradley, and called on the candidates to pledge to reject such support. Over the weekend, it was reported that a group called the “Wisconsin Alliance for Reform,” which does not disclose its donors, had invested more than $400,000 in known advertising to support Bradley.
“Today, I am asking the other candidates in this race, Justice Rebecca Bradley and Judge Joanne Kloppenburg, to join me in a simple pledge to reject special interest money and help from either political party,” said Judge Joe Donald. “While I know no candidate can directly control outside spending, all three of us can publicly ask these special interest groups and super PACs to spend their money elsewhere. Additionally, no candidate in this election should be coordinating with a political party – judges should be independent.”
The Wisconsin Alliance for Reform advertising campaign is just the latest example of the coordinated, partisan effort among the Republican Party, conservative special interest groups, and the Bradley campaign as she fights to retain her seat on the Supreme Court. Bradley was appointed to the Supreme Court last fall by Governor Scott Walker – the third time in three years he has appointed her to successively higher courts.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Reform has deep ties to past Republican operatives, Scott Walker, and the Club for Growth, which spent heavily for Rebecca Bradley’s 2013 Circuit Court campaign. This continues a disturbing trend of outside spending from special interest groups, which has topped $13 million since 2007 in Wisconsin Supreme Court elections.
In recent years, Justices have been accused of physical confrontations, making rulings on cases benefiting donors, and running racist television ads. Most recently, the Court used suspect reasoning and cited a discredited blog in order to shut down a John Doe investigation into their political allies, a ruling that earned national condemnation.
“There is a reason our court has become poisoned with partisan politics; candidates for the court have too often embraced the labels of ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’ and have sought and received help from the Republican and Democratic parties and their special interest groups,” said Judge Donald. “If our court is to remain independent and maintain its ability to hold the executive and legislative branches accountable, as our founders intended, then this is fundamentally wrong.”
In December, the Wisconsin Republican Party was openly and actively circulating Rebecca Bradley’s nomination papers. Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch has sent a fundraising email attacking “liberal special interests” and Senator Alberta Darling has sent a fundraising letter (front, back) evoking the recall elections and attacks from “Madison liberals” (both documents attached).
According to her latest financial report, Rebecca Bradley has received financial contributions from Bradley Foundation CEO Michael Grebe, State Rep. Bob Gannon, and the Washington County Republican Party.
“Rebecca Bradley is running a campaign fit for partisan office to the legislature, not one that is up to the higher, nonpartisan standards of the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” said Judge Joe Donald. “There is no doubt that she is benefiting from a coordinated campaign operation from partisan interests on the right, and voters should know and reject this kind of partisanship in our judicial elections.
While Rebecca Bradley has relatively little judicial experience, she already has a career’s worth of experience in Republican politics. Her résumé lists membership in the Republican National Lawyers Association and she served as president of the far-right Milwaukee Federalist Society. She has written publicly about her very conservative policy views regarding abortion and campaign finance reform. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, she has contributed five times to Governor Scott Walker for a total of $1,600 in campaign contributions. In return, Governor Walker has appointed her three times to judicial vacancies in the past three years.
“When looking at her extensive history of partisan politics, her appointment to the Wisconsin Supreme Court is not a coincidence,” added Judge Donald.
The Honorable M. Joseph Donald is an award-winning, widely respected jurist with almost 20 years of experience presiding over civil and criminal court cases. With more than 350 jury trials under his belt, Joe is the most independent, most experienced and most qualified candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court in the 2016 election.
Judge Joe Donald for Wisconsin Supreme Court
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“Judge Donald is exactly the independent voice we need on our state’s Supreme Court,” said Congresswoman Moore.
“Judge Joe Donald is a dedicated public servant who has consistently put politics aside to deliver justice fairly,” said County Executive Chris Abele.