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Who Controls Campaign Finance?
See what Richart Briffault and James C. Miller, III have to say in the debate that sparked this letter.

I must say that while the ongoing debate is fascinating, what it is leaving out is shocking and deserves to be addressed. For to discuss campaign finance restrictions in the states and focus exclusively on legislative and executive races, as seems to be the case, is to miss out completely on where the battle is starting to be waged: the judicial elections.

Evidence, both anecdotal and empirical, shows the extent to which money is flash-flooding into campaigns. Illinois's Supreme Court race of a few years ago saw millions spent—especially by third parties—meeting or exceeding the amount spend by most U.S. Senate races that year. The amounts are still relatively small compared to other campaigns, but consider the recent series of reports showing the amounts have grown exponentially over the last six years. Now, post-Republican Party of Minnesota v. White and White II—which had its cert denial last month—judicial candidates can, and arguably must, personally solicit funds (prior, their solicitation of funds was done by the campaign committee only—a legal fiction, but nonetheless an important one).

Consider too Avery v. State Farm, in which an Illinois Supreme Court Justice's refusal to recuse himself when one of the parties gave heavily to his campaign is now before the U.S. Supreme Court on an argument that his failure to recuse violated the other party's rights. Again and again the issue of judicial campaign financing is coming up—yet as I noted, not within this ongoing debate.

Perhaps this subject is so far apart from legislative / executive races that it requires its own debate. If so, then let that be said. But the total silence on the subject to date has been deafening. It ought be addressed, if only to say it will not be addressed.

J. Bowers

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