Various Kentucky advocacy groups are lining up in support of legislation that would take private money out of judicial races. The measure would block judicial candidates from taking contributions from individuals or companies, and would instead establish a fund to distribute campaign money to candidates. The money would come from voluntary income tax contributions, Kentucky Bar Association dues or nonpartisan fundraisers.
“You know, when people are running for the legislature, we want to know where they stand because they’re going to be making laws, you know what I mean? But judges are not going to be making laws. Judges are supposed to be interpreting the law fairly,” says Beverly Moore with the League of Women Voters of Kentucky.
“It’s inevitable if you’ve got to have this big money from certain big contributors in order to get elected, it’s going to be hard to withstand the influence of what those people want in the courtroom.”
In order to qualify for public funding, candidates would have to raise five dollars for every signature they receive on their petitions to run for office.
The league is holding a forum on the legislation with lawmakers and retired judges tonight. The Louisville council of the National Council of Jewish Women, the American Constitutional Society and Common Cause of Kentucky are also involved. The forum begins at 5:45 at 115 S. Ewing Avenue.