The JFP received an email from a reader castigating us for endorsing Earle Banks over Bill Waller for the state Supreme Court.
"Banks has been reported by reliable sources as having a considerable number of instances of not paying taxes for a number of years, such that liens have been placed on him and his businesses," wrote Denise Halbach. "Is this the kind of man you support for a position which requires that laws be followed? Bill Waller, Jr. is an honest man who upholds the laws as they are written, while Banks scoffs at the law by not paying taxes. Shame on JFP!"
I called Ms. Halbach to find out what her "reliable sources" were. It turns out that she was referring to radio ads (she believes they were on MISS 103) from the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, a Virginia-based political-action group, as part of a spate of "public education ads in Mississippi," according to an Oct. 23 release published on the Wall Street Journal website.
Also on Oct. 23, Jackson lawyer Matt Eichelberger posted this on the Cottonmouth blog:
Trash PAC Law Enforcement Alliance of America behind most misleading ads of 2008 judicial election cycle, and they're back
Some of you may remember the 2008 Southern District Supreme Court race between then-Justice Oliver Diaz and then-Chancery Judge Randy "Bubba" Pierce. Late in the race, an ad appeared that accused Justice Diaz of voting "for" baby rapers and other assorted awful characters. The ad was paid for by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America PAC.
… The local media roundly condemned the 2008 LEAA ad, and href="http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/the-case-of-the-sleeping-justice/">FactCheck.org picked it apart mercilessly. The Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention, formed by the Mississippi Supreme Court, even sent a letter to Judge Pierce demanding that he advise them whether he was responsible for the ad, and if not, to ask LEAA to cease and desist.
Knowing what we now know about the LEAA and their tactics, the Mississippi Supreme Court's Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention should be proactive in preserving the integrity of our Supreme Court elections. They should immediately demand to know the extent of the Josiah Coleman campaign's involvement in the coming ads. Waiting until the Mississippi electorate is again subjected to the handiwork of widely-criticized hatchet men would bring to mind an old saying: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice...."
Reached by phone, Banks said he wasn't familiar with the ads. He didn't deny that he has had tax issues in the past—at his age, 58, many people have probably had some type of issue with taxes, he said. However, he emphatically denied that any of issues are still outstanding.
"My taxes are paid," he said.