In fiery blog post, Clear the Bench dismisses ethics complaint as politics

Firebrand anti-tax Tea Party speaker and Clear the Bench Director Matt Arnold posted a broadside at the group’s website today in which he railed against a complaint filed by Colorado Ethics Watch Wednesday. Arnold wrote that the complaint was politically driven and somehow connected to the Supreme Court justices he is working to replace.

The blog was posted at 11:30 Wednesday night and titled “Colorado Ethics Watch Attack on Clear The Bench Colorado Displays Desperation, Shows Colorado Supreme Court Majority Running Scared.”

“The attack was not unexpected,” Arnold wrote, “because CEW is well known as an organization dedicated to filing nuisance complaints against non-Leftist organizations, candidates, & causes (and, interestingly, giving cover to left-wing groups)…”

Clear The Bench Colorado received word earlier today of a politically-motivated and baseless complaint filed against it by the so-called “Colorado Ethics Watch”. CEW (rhymes with “sue”) is well aware of the fact that Clear The Bench Colorado followed the guidance of the Colorado Office of Secretary of State in filing as an Issue Committee; the complaint is a cheap political stunt without legal merit….

Now, CEW is attempting to change the rules in the middle of the game – just when the other side is driving to the goal.

While we appreciate CEW keeping Clear The Bench Colorado before the voters for their critical consideration of the Court’s political maneuvers, we expect that the political complaint filed by the self-styled “Colorado Ethics Watch” will be dismissed expeditiously.

Now more than ever – stand with Clear The Bench Colorado in defense of your constitutional rights. Exercise your right to vote “NO” on the 4 ‘unjust justices’ of the Colorado Supreme Court’s “Mullarkey Majority” (Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey) who need YOUR approval to continue taking away your constitutional rights: your right to vote on tax increases, your right to defend your home or business from against eminent domain abuse, your right to fair representation in government, and your right to enjoy the benefits of the rule of law, instead of suffering under rule by activist, agenda-driven “justices.” Support Clear The Bench Colorado with your comments (Sound Off!) and your contributions – and vote “NO” on retaining these unjust justices on the bench for another 10-year term!

Clear the Bench exists exclusively to call on voters to “Ditch the Mullarkey Majority” by electing not to retain Justices Bender, Martinez, Rice and Mullarkey. Clear the Bench argues that the justices have acted against the constitution, mainly the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, in ruling it was legal for lawmakers to pass a Mill Levy Tax Freeze to keep taxes at a higher rate to pay for education, for example, and ruled similarly on a “re-definition” that turned taxes into fees to make them easier to pass.

Colorado Ethics Watch says Clear the Bench has been mis-categorized as a political issue committee by the Secretary of State and so can raise uncapped donations. In fact, says Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro, Clear the Bench is working not to promote any issue but to simply target elected officials. But Coloradans have voted to try keep money out of judicial elections so that the work of judge can not be tainted by big donors, he said.

A cursory reading suggests raising money to target the “Mullarkey Majority” goes against the spirit, at least, if not the letter of Amendment 27 (pdf), passed by Colorado voters in 2004. It specifically refers to judges as candidates and aims to limit money flowing into the judge retention process.

From the amendment:

The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to political candidates create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that large campaign contributions made to influence election outcomes allow wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process; that the rising costs of campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office…

“Candidate” also includes a judge or justice of any court of record who seeks to be retained in office pursuant to the provisions of section 25 of article VI. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office or retention of a judicial office and thereafter has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy.

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