Thursday, April 5, 2012

Playing Politics with Judicial Survey

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by the Indianapolis Bar Association for information for its website on the Marion County judicial candidates.  I dutifully got the information together and sent it off.   Upon receipt of the information, the IBA officials suddenly changed directions, saying the
C. Joseph Russell
the information would be used to conduct a "survey" on my candidacy.  I was never told that and would never have provided the information on that basis.  After all, I know how easy it is to manipulate such survey results.  I was surprised for another reason.  The deadline had already passed for surveys some two months earlier and I was already told that no surveys would be allowed after that date.

I checked with other judicial candidates and learned that the IBA's arm that does the survey, the "Judicial Excellence Political Action Committee," has previously allowed judicial candidates to opt out of the survey upon request.  I told the IBA I did not want to be part of any survey.

Now is the update.   I received a letter from C. Joseph Russell, Chair of JEPAC, refusing to honor my request that I not be included in the survey.  Mr. Russell disputed my suggestion that the survey responses are not an accurate reflection of opinion.  Sorry, but I teach political science and polling.  The JEPAC surveys amount to a "self-selecting" poll, i.e. a poll in which respondents can choose whether to participate. As any professional pollster will tell you, a self-selecting poll is is easily manipulated to get certain desired results...which is exactly why professional pollsters don't use them. As a Republican running against the slate, and as someone who is a frequent critic of big law firms that dominate Indianapolis politics, (including the state's largest law firm, Barnes and Thornburg, which I just recently criticized for blatantly violating conflict of interest rules), I knew there would be an organized effort among the big law firms to trash me in such a survey.  The fact that unslated Democrats, Greg Bowes and Mark King, finished in the bottom three of the candidates speaks volumes for what it is like when unslated candidates dare challenge the establishment.

For the record, Mr. Russell is an active Republican and I am challenging the Republican party leadership by running against the slate.  He is a Lugar supporter, contributing to his campaign as recently as January.  I meanwhile have written several times on my blog criticizing Lugar about his violations of the law regarding residency. Mr. Russell is also a partner at the law firm Krieg DeVault with attorney Kostas Poulakidas who I criticized for running a dirty campaign against Councilor Christine Scales.  It's hard not consider the possibility that these were motivating factors in Mr. Russell decision to break from tradition to do a survey when the candidate insists one not be done.

I have little doubt that the purpose of this late survey, is to get a low rating to use it in a political campaign.   (I'd be shocked if I get a 20% rating.) While that is not a surprising political maneuver, it is surprising who it is coming from.  I would hope that officials at IBA would steer clear of allowing its organization to be used to gain political ammunition against a judicial candidate.  Like judicial candidates have in the past, I should have been allowed the right not to participate in the JEPAC survey.


Nicolas Martin said...

Politics is filth. All efforts to reform it are futile.

I know said...

Welcome to the club of getting put in their place. As you stated to our family sometimes the law and the courts just cannot take care of filthy politics and crooked activity in Indiana.

A hard lesson learned!

We tried. How about you?