James Daley, Justice For Sale?

Supreme Court Candidate James Pledges Allegiance to Gov. Walker’s Agenda While Pleading for Special Interest Spending on His Behalf

MADISON, Wis. — Dispensing with any pretense of judicial independence, state Supreme Court candidate James Daley signaled early in his campaign that he was willing to rubber stamp Gov. Walker and the GOP’s legislative agenda. Now Daley has upped the ante by openly pleading for outside special interest groups to spend on his behalf, according to reports from the news service WisPolitics.com.

“James Daley has completely dispensed with any pretense of judicial independence in his campaign,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He’s changed his opinions to appease the GOP and now he’s explicitly calling on special interests to pay to put him on the court.”

Earlier this year, Daley “flipped his flop” on legislative Republican’s fast track power grab to unseat the high court’s current Chief Justice. In December Daley endorsed the GOP’s ‘Supreme Injustice’ amendment to the state constitution to unseat the current court chief. He changed his stance to “no opinion” in early January but quickly retracted those statements and is again supporting the GOP-authored power grab also backed by the conservative special interest lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Daley has recently added to his pledges of allegiance to the GOP party line support for the efforts of Gov. Walker and the legislature to restrict workplace and voting rights.

While concerning for the people of Wisconsin, Daley’s lack of judicial backbone has been paying dividends for his campaign. The Republican Party of Wisconsin donated nearly $7,000 worth of campaign staff and research services to Daley between January 1 and February 2 this year.

Now, according a WisPolitics report Daley is appealing directly to outside groups to buy a court seat for him. At a fundraising event he reportedly encouraged individuals to donate to his campaign so he could attract outside groups. His campaign manager noted the special interest funded operations of groups like the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce were, “The saving grace for conservatives.”

In recent races for the state high court, Club for Growth (CfG) and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) financed over $8 million in spending to elect the four justices who constitute a conservative majority on the court. In all four cases of these justices’ election campaigns, the percent of spending by these two entities was a substantial portion of the support these campaigns received. A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign total of the spending on behalf of Justice Prosser, including his own campaign, showed that spending of CfG, WMC and the CfG-financed Citizens for a Strong America, provided 75 percent of the $3.5 million in spending on behalf of Justice Prosser.

Ross concluded, “James Daley’s pledges of allegiance to special interest and partisan political agendas are unseemly on their own. But coupling them with pleas for campaign cash suggests he’s willing put himself up for sale.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.