Large Donations Coming From a Small Number of Donors Ahead of Judicial Elections

In a new report, the Post-Gazette details how a few donors are spending large amounts of money on candidates on both sides of the aisle ahead of the elections next week.  

The report points to $2.25 million in donations from mid-September to mid-October given to both Democrats and Republicans.  

A political action committee connected to the Philadelphia trial lawyers donated $925,000 in that span to Democratic candidates  for Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin, $250,000, and Judge Debbie Kunselman, $225,000, and Republican Supreme Court candidate Justice Sallie Mundy, $200,000.  

Republican National Committeeman and fundraiser Bob Asher’s PAC Pennsylvania Future Fund spent $55,000 on Republican Commonwealth Court candidate Paul Lalley’s campaign during the fundraising period.

From the Post-Gazette:

Of the $58,735 Pittsburgh attorney Paul Lalley added to his campaign for Commonwealth Court in the past month, for example, $55,000 came from the Pennsylvania Future Fund, a political committee chaired by Republican National Committeeman Bob Asher. In all, the fund has given Mr. Lalley $300,000 this year — roughly 60 cents of every dollar he raised in 2017.

Mr. Asher, whose family owns a chocolatemaker in the Philadelphia area, could not be reached for comment. But Mr. Lalley said that as a Montgomery County native whose parents were active Republicans, “I’ve known Mr. Asher since I was a kid.”

4 Responses

  1. Lalley probably visited Asher in prison while the former GOP State chair was serving time for perjury, racketeering, bribery and conspiracy. Just the guy we should have in helping to choose our judges.

  2. what’s worse than electing judges is the system of ‘judicial ‘ retentions– bar associations vote to retain everyone , unlike other states where judges up for retention are subject to blind ballot ratings from the lawyers in whose cases they erred or behaved obnoxiously.

    as an example of the need for blind balloting, we currently have a nominee for a district court federal seat–which is a life time job . this person has one of the worst reversible error rates we have ever seen. i can’t wait to see how bad his decisions will be when he has to deal with really complex federal issues …

  3. If the arrogant merit selection know it alls have their way and the voters lose the right to pick judges, the donations to the politicians picking the judges will be hidden out of public view, public discussion.
    How can any one deny the right of voters to select their leaders? Arrogance. Condescending attitude.

    1. Agreed.To paraphrase Winston Churchill electing judges is the worst way of picking judges except for all other forms of judicial selection.

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