Michigan State Bar seeks end to 'dark money' in judicial elections

Sep 13, 2013

The Michigan Bar Association is trying remove so-called 'dark money' political ads from the airwaves.
Credit flickr/Keith Burtis

In election seasons, so-called “issue ads” have become a predictable feature of the media landscape.  Issue ads don’t mention a candidate.  Instead, they promote or attack an issue.  Because the ads are not about candidates, the groups paying for them aren’t subject to the same disclosure requirements as candidate ads.  

“Issue ads” have flooded judicial elections with many millions of dollars from unidentifiable sources.  Critics say it’s impossible to know a judge is impartial in the courtroom if it’s not clear WHO helped elect them.

Our next guest is one of those critics.  Bruce Courtade is President of the State Bar of Michigan.  On Wednesday, the state bar asked for clarification of the status of “issue ads” by the state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.