RRT Cease & Desist Letter to Judicial Crisis Network

10-May-2018

Rapid Response Team

Charged by the Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee, Inc.

P.O. Box 141475, Little Rock, AR 72223

Members: Audrey Evans (chair), Hal Bass (vice chair), Elizabeth Andreoli (secretary), Danyelle Walker, Roy Ockert Jr.

CEASE AND DESIST LETTER

May 10, 2018

To: Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), via email at info@judicialnetwork.com

Subject: May 3, 2018 Complaint Supreme Court Election

Complaint filed by: Linda Napper on behalf of Justice Courtney Goodson Campaign (CGC)

Dear Judicial Crisis Network:

The Rapid Response Team (RRT) regrets the necessity of issuing this CEASE AND DESIST LETTER. The Judicial Crisis Network’s decision to continue publicizing false and misleading information about a candidate for the Supreme Court with full knowledge that the information is false and misleading requires this action. We take this action only after notifying you and giving you an opportunity to be heard. You have not responded to our request for information showing your Ads are not false and misleading.

Specifically, the RRT notified you in writing on May 9, 2018, that Justice Courtney Goodson’s Campaign (CGC) filed a complaint alleging that your organization is publicizing television advertisements and mailing flyers, both of which contain false and misleading statements. (May 9, 2018, detailed letter). That complaint alleged generally that:

The Judicial Crisis Network is sponsoring TV advertisements which state that “Courtney Goodson has been taking gifts and big money from donors for years…..hundreds of thousands of dollars from law firms with cases before her court ….even a $50,000 trip to Italy on a donor’s luxury yacht and what’s worse, Goodson asked for an $18,000 raise making her salary bigger than the governors.” (See RRT May 9th Letter).

The Judicial Crisis Network mailed a large full color flyer which states in summary that: W.H. Taylor paid Courtney Goodson and her husband’s extended luxury vacation to Italy, including a cruise on a yacht owned by one of her corporate campaign contributors and then turned to Arkansas taxpayers to support her lavish lifestyle by asking for an additional $18,000 pay raise.(See RRT May 9th Letter).

The May 9, 2018, Voluntary Request for Withdrawal of Advertisement letter contains a detailed explanation of the evidence the RRT reviewed and the conclusions it reached. The RRT has evidence that this Letter was delivered to you.

The RRT made the following findings:

Justice Courtney Goodson did not request a pay raise. There is no evidence to support the statement that she did request a pay raise. Justice Goodson sat on the Supreme Court during the period of time the court voted to authorize Chief Justice Kemp to request a pay raise. The Supreme Court speaks with one voice and that voice is the voice of its Chief. It would be a violation of Justice Goodson’s duty of confidentiality to reveal how she voted for a pay raise.

Justice Courtney Goodson did not hear cases that were filed by or on behalf of a donor. Because Justice Goodson recused from hearing those cases, donors did not receive benefits from Justice Goodson.

According to our charge, our purpose is to prevent the use of false or misleading information in the election of a candidate to the Arkansas Supreme Court. We asked you to agree to withdraw your advertisements immediately and to stop mailing flyers, both of which contain false and misleading information. Yet, you continue to run your television ads and mail flyers despite the finding by this neutral group “that your TV ad contains “false and misleading information”.

Consequently, the RRT issues this Cease and Desist Letter demanding that JCN withdraw its advertisements immediately; stop mailing flyers; and remove all language in JCN’s greedygoodson.com website, consistent with RRT Findings above.

This Cease and Desist Letter will be released in the public domain immediately. We will issue a Press Release that details the findings that the JCN advertisements, its flyers, and now the greedygoodson.com website contains false and misleading information; along with a statement that the JCN’s disregard for fair or truthful advertising impugns the integrity of the judicial election process.

Sincerely,

Judge Audrey Evans
Chair of the Rapid Response Team

The Rapid Response Team issues this Letter, officially requesting, on behalf of the citizens of Arkansas, that you cease publishing information that you know to be false and misleading.

cc:

Courtney Goodson Campaign Committee, via email at napperatcamco@gmail.com
Kenneth Hixson, via email at kenneth.hixson@arcourts.gov
David Sterling Campaign Committee, via email at david@votedavidsterling.com
arkansasjudges.org Website
The Arkansas Press

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