RRT Sends Cease & Desist to the Republican State Leadership Committee18-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 18, 2018
To: Republican State Leadership Committee (“State Leadership’)
Subject: May 16, 2013, Complaint Court of Appeal Election
Complaint filed by: Linda Napper on behalf of Justice Re-elect Judge Bart Virden (“Virden Campaign”)
Dear Republican State Leadership Committee:
The Rapid Response Team (“RRT”) regrets the necessity of issuing this CEASE AND DESIST LETTER. The Republican State Leadership Committee’s decision to continue publicizing false and misleading information about a candidate for the Arkansas Court of Appeals 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.
Specifically, the RRT notified you in writing on May 17, 2018, that Judge Bart Virden’s Campaign (Virden Campaign) filed a complaint alleging that your organization is publicizing television advertisements that contain false and misleading statements. (May 17, 2018, detailed letter). That complaint alleged generally that:
The Republican State Leadership Committee is sponsoring Television Advertisements which state that “Virden overturned the conviction of a habitual rapist on a technicality leaving victims without justice.”
The May 17th RRT letter contains a detailed explanation of the evidence it reviewed and the conclusions it reached. The RRT made the following finding:
Because Judge Virden did not individually make this decision; because the lower court decision was not overturned on a technicality, and because the accused person is in prison, the RRT finds the television ads to contain false and misleading information.
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 Court of Appeals. We asked you to agree to withdraw your advertisements which contain false and misleading information immediately. Yet, you continue to run your television ads despite the finding by this neutral group “that your television ad contains “false and misleading information”.
Consequently, the RRT issues this Cease and Desist Letter, which will be released in the public domain immediately. We will issue a Press Release that details the findings that the State Leadership advertisements contain false and misleading information, along with a statement the State Leadership’s disregard for fair or truthful advertising impugns the integrity of the judicial election process.
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.
Republican State Leadership Committee via Campaign Facebook Private Message
Bart Virden Campaign Committee via firstname.lastname@example.org
Johnnie Copeland Campaign Committee via Campaign Facebook Private Message