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PA Bar Rebukes Stabile Over Negative Ad

VicStabile
-Vic Stabile

We are mere hours away from election day, which means it’s once again desperation time. At least that’s how the Pennsylvania Bar Association views the television commercial released last week by Republican Superior Court candidate Vic Stabile.

In the ad Stabile released last Monday his campaign accused Democratic nominee Jack McVay Jr. of abusing his position as an Allegheny family court judge to obtain jobs for family and friends.

The PA Bar Association concluded that the commercial violated the candidate’s pledge to avoid misleading statements, and requested that the ad be removed. Both Stabile and McVay signed the pledge last December.

“Judicial campaigns are different from other political campaigns,” said Richard M. Goldberg, chair of the PBA JCAC. “Candidates running for judgeships must abide by the Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits candidates from making false or misleading statements about themselves or their opponents.”

The PBA statement did not specify which aspect of the ad was not accurate or was misleading. The two specific charges Stabile made were sourced to articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PoliticsPA is seeking further comment from the PBA.

“If he’s going negative and willing to violate his pledge, it must mean he sees himself behind,” McVay campaign manager, Marty Marks told PoliticsPA when the ad first aired. “We’re running a positive effort and it’s going to stay that way.”

Despite the bar’s judgement, Stabile is standing by the ad and has refused the Bar Association’s order to remove it.

“If some people have found my ad to be unsettling, it’s probably because judicial nepotism isn’t a nice issue to discuss,” Stabile told PoliticsPA. “What I raised was an issue of great public concern and I put it out there for people to consider.

Political speech is one of the highest forms of protected speech under the Constitution and [the PA Bar Association] needs to consider whether they should be regulating that speech.”

Even if he had wanted to comply with the Bar’s request, it’s unlikely Stabile could have. The Bar Association issued its statement later Friday afternoon, but television stations need at least a business day to respond to changes to advertising plans.

“Under the PBA JCAC guidelines, if corrective action is not taken by the violating candidate in accordance with the timeframe set by the PBA JCAC, a public announcement concerning the noncompliance can be made,” said Goldberg.

The Superior Court race is the only statewide contest that will be held on Tuesday. With limited resources, however, the campaigns were only able to air one television commercial each. Stabile tried to split the difference by both attacking McVay and praising his own work in his commercial. McVay, on the other hand, released a generic, positive, biographical ad that emphasized his Pittsburgh roots.

The Pa. Bar Association rated both candidates as “recommended.”

9 Responses

  1. If the PBA isn’t going to reveal what they believe is inaccurate about the Stabile ad, then the PBA shouldn’t make any statement at all.

  2. The Bar Association itself is at fault here. It owes it to the electorate to say which part of his ad was either false or misleading. But if it does, and if it is wrong, that’s libel. So if the Bar Association can’t put up, it should shut up.

  3. Just reinforces what I’ve known for years- Stabile is a slimeball. Republican voting for McVay here.

  4. This is an elective office and Stabile’s commercial was fair criticism and factual.
    He has every right under the First Amendment and US Supreme Court decisional law to campaign and raise issues of concern. This is the Bar Association that is clueless about campaigns for public office.

  5. is there a race on Tuesday…wouldn’t know it in Delaware County…Dem leadership gives it no message or support. Shame on Pa State Dems for this lack of effort for its candidate.

  6. If he can’t run an ethical campaign how can we believe he will be an ethical Judge. Very disappointing!

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