Update: BIAW still bastards

And speaking of those bastards at the BIAW, I just thought I’d repeat a few tidbits about their newly purchased Supreme Court Justice, Jim Johnson:

  • While in private practice, served as a lawyer representing the BIAW.
  • Received by far the most campaign contributions of any justice from the BIAW and its affiliates, including at least $146,500 in cash donations to 2004 campaign.
  • Received in-kind donations of at least $25,555 from the BIAW and its affiliates in 2004.
  • At least one-third of all donations he received in 2004 came from the BIAW and affiliates.
  • During unsuccessful 2002 campaign, Johnson received at least $124,500 in cash, and $51,327 in in-kind services, from BIAW and affiliates — about 44 percent of all money he raised.
  • Received more than $22,000 in in-kind donations from the Washington State Republican Party in 2002.
  • Received at least $450 each to 2002 campaign from Tom McCabe, a BIAW vice president, and his wife.

In fact, I’d guess a close examination of Johnson’s financial disclosure reports would probably show that in addition to direct contributions, Johnson received substantial indirect contributions from the BIAW and their associates.

Hmm… can anybody say recusal?


  1. 1

    swatter spews:

    I heard a whacko Democrat (as differentiated from the posters here) the other day criticize a guy who gave money to political campaigns in exchange for favors. The Dem voted against the guy on his case.

    Funny thing, the guy only gave to Dems and not Republicans. Go figure.

    Contributions don’t mean a person is bought, or maybe I am being naive again.

    My problem is the enormous amount of money it takes to run an election and the loyalty that is demanded by candidates getting a ton of money from their political party. There is so much money around these campaigns that the candidate cannot stray from their party without reprucussions. So, you can throw out a politician representing their constituency or their own values.

  2. 2

    docbenton spews:

    Swatter — I wouldn’t like to think that you are naive, but the question is more about the appearance that a justice could be bought. The appearance of impartiality (coupled with actual impartiality of course) is of paramount value to the institution of the Supreme Court and, therefore, to all of the rest of us who need a respected final arbiter of disputes.

    But why would it be a problem to subject the supposedly non-partisan judicial races to the same campaign contribution limits applied to partisan races. Frankly, it seems to me that there is even greater reason to control contributions to the non-partisan races than to the partisan ones.

  3. 3

    nindid spews:

    I think the concern with Johnson is not that he received money, but that so much of his money came from one group. If the Sierra Club almost funded a justice single-handed to put them on the court, I would expect them to be recused in cases involving the Sierra Club.

    All politicians (elected judges included) must take money of some sort, but having so much of it come from the BIAW over the course of two elections means that both for the appearance of impropriety and the actual likelihood of bias are such that he would have to recuse himself or risk damaging the institution of the supreme court. I hope it does not come to that….

  4. 4

    angry voter spews:

    Maybe Fairhurst should recuse herself, she worked for gregoire, how about Geryy “give me a hug Chrissy” Alexander, or Bobbi ” I drink, drive, hit and run” Bridge, she was praised by gregoire after committing felonies while on the bench….

  5. 5

    Mark spews:


    While I understand your knee-jerk response to anything related to the BIAW (and perhaps even the individual letters B, I, A and WA if said in close enough proximity), I would have expected you to be more honest with your post. At least you linked the PI’s original article. BOTH Johnson & Bridge should definitely recuse themselves. Sanders would probably do well recusing himself, too.

  6. 6

    Chee spews:

    Bribery is part of polticial religion. In the clothe as elsewhere, the doctrine of fairness has long been replaced with “Going With The Wind.

  7. 7

    docbenton spews:

    It is a dilemma, frankly. As I recall the newspaper article, the BIAW has made substantial contributions to the campaigns of at least four of the justices. The contributions to Johnson were the highest by far, but the contributions to other campaigns would not be considered small in the world of contributions. The suggested conflicts on the Gregoire side were a bit more of a stretch, generally, I thought, but I have no doubt that those issues will be picked at like scabs and made to seem large, even if they aren’t. I also suspect that we could not find Court of Appeals justices who do not have similar suggested conflicts, either knowing Gregoire or Rossi or having some past or current connection, however tenuous, to them or their most visible supporters. It’s a small state and a smaller legal/judicial/political community. This thought may or may not have application to this election, but let me suggest that that legislator a century ago who said that election contests for governor were partisan and should be decided in a political forum, the legislature, may have had it right. We are just beginning to see, with these questions about conflicts and alleged conflicts, the risk to the Supreme Court presented by this challenge.

    Personally, I come out that Johnson should recuse himself, after having been elected through massive campaign contributions from the BIAW in an election held at the same time as the challenged one. He has served as the BIAW’s attorney. The BIAW has been Rossi’s virtual campaign in this contest. Johnson has had no time to distance himself from the BIAW or to establish a reputation one way or the other on the Court. The connection between Johnson and the BIAW is just too close personally, temporally, and financially that if he stays on for this decision, that would bring discredit on the court. No one, regardless of party, can afford that.

    The others are more problematic. I would probably leave the rest of them on and recognize that no system is perfect.

  8. 8

    JCH spews:

    82 felons voted in Nov. 2 election
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by GREG J. BOROWSKI Original Article

    Public records law hinders analysis; more illegal ballots likely cast in presidential race. At least 82 felons voted illegally in the presidential election Nov. 2 in Milwaukee, though the total is likely far higher, a new computer analysis by the Journal Sentinel has found.

    Bottom line: All elections in major Democrat cities with large black populations are crooked and fixed. Democrats: massive voter fraud.

  9. 11

    Don spews:

    While working in the AG’s office, Johnson was Gorton’s point man for Indian-bashing. Wonder if Johnson has it in for uppity women who run for men’s offices, too?

  10. 12

    bmvaughn spews:

    This blog has started to rival Skor Grimm as the funniest satire blog in the Puget Sound!

  11. 13

    RDC spews:

    Angry Voter @4

    I’m curious. Do you think Fairhurst should recuse herself because, having worked for Gregoire, she would be seen as someone influenced to vote for Gregoire’s interest, or against it?

    More to the point, I’m willing to cut Johnson some slack. When Richard Sanders was elected to the Court, I thought the sky might fall, but it didn’t. We are not on the same wavelength ideologically, but, as far as I know, he’s been a decent justice. I’m betting JOhnson will turn out the same; more conservative than I like, but a decent and fair arbiter of the law.

  12. 14

    JCH spews:

    DON..RE: #8…That should have read, “ALL elections in Democrat controlled cities are fixed and crooked”. In addition, black districts that vote Democrat at 115% of registration cannot be discussed, as any investigation must be racist.

  13. 15

    swatter spews:

    Well, doc, I can agree with you there. There should be spending limits on nonpartisan races.

    But also, I don’t like our current US Supremes going around and talking up a storm. In other words, they are getting more political. I liked it better when they just deliberated.

    Next thing you know and they will be endorsing presidential candidates.

  14. 16

    Janet S spews:

    I’m betting if you looked at who finances most judicial races, it will be members of the bar. Does that mean that any justice taking donations from a lawyer should recuse himself from appearing before lawyers?

    The best campaign finance rule is full and immediate disclosure of funds. Limits only serve to protect those in power and those with connections to power.

  15. 17

    RDC spews:

    Janet @ 15

    Most citizens I would assume support full and immediate disclosure of campaign contributions. But having no limits on contributions enables a candidate with deep pocket friends to dominate the airwaves, while an opponent without such supporters has to struggle to get his/her message heard. One could make an argument that it is the citizen’s responsibility to ferret out the facts about each candidate, but in today’s world this is more a theoretical argument than a realistic one. What do you think about requiring broadcasters, who are making use of a public resource, the airwaves, to provide a minimum amount of advertising time for each major candidate (assuming that rules could be written which would exempt broadcasters from having to air the ads of any and all candidates)?

  16. 19

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @5,

    Yes, I did provide a link to the P-I article, and I always encourage people to check out the source material myself. I can understand people questioning the other judges, but I think Jim Johnson stands out because of the absurdly large amount of money the BIAW has spent on him, and his other close connections.

    I don’t think this is a case of a judge paying back a contributor… this is a case of a contributor spending the money it takes to get a judge on the court, who they know is a kindred, ideological soul.

  17. 20

    angry voter spews:

    RDC @ 13

    For Chrissy most certainly, they are little soul sisters, in fact, Gregoire urged her to run in the first place, and gave Fairhurts paid leave to do so. Face the facts folks, you dont get on the State Supreme without having supreme connections. With that comes certain connections that partisans (like me) can point out, expolit and generally cause mayhem about. In the end, these “Supremes” must be re elected as well. With the current public eye on the case, they are looking at the polls too boys and girls.

  18. 21

    RDC spews:

    Angry Voter @ 20

    My question at 13 was rhetorical, but since you answered it, I’d like to know how you know that Gregoire gave Fairhurst paid leave to do so? Second question, do you mean that Gregoire approved paid leave that Fairhurst had earned as a result of employment (vacation time)? Third question, are you implying that Gregoire did something askew of the law in regards to Fairhurst’s candidancy?

    And BTW, here’s an unsolicited tip for you: it is not very flattering (to you) to refer to the Governor as “Chrissy” no matter how angry you are, and it devalues your arguments.

  19. 22

    angry voter spews:

    Hey RDC,

    I am not really concerned with flattering myself, my self worth isnt wrapped up into what you think of me. “Chrissy” with out question, has ethical issues going back many moons, and I will call it like I see it. Also, I know rhetoric when I see it and you didnt do a very good job of it. Watch some british humor this weekend and come up with a new angle.

    And yes, Fairhurts was given PAID leave, she basically campaigned out of the AG’s office. Now, how does someone at the state rack up 4 months of leave? Answer, you dont.

    Here is an unsolicted tip for you: I truly couldnt give a rats ass what you think of me, so focus some of that energy into a positive activity.

  20. 23

    angry voter spews:

    Why dont you address the real issue instead of throwing red herrings, curve balls, wild goose chases and snipe hunts into the mix; THEY ALL HAVE CONFLICTS IN THIS CASE, THERE IS NO GETTING AROUND IT.

  21. 24

    marks spews:

    I think I made the point awhile back that any Supreme Court Justice must be able to render opinion based on law. The fact that justices must be elected means they need to raise money. Unless WA (or any other state with a similar system) changes the way justices are installed, there is no getting around it.

    RDC @13

    Do you support the idea of Justice Johnson recusing himself from the case in point?

  22. 26

    RDC spews:

    Marks @ 24

    Tough question, if it comes to that. We are all assuming that an appeal will go to the Supreme Court on this. If the Ds lose in Chelan County, it certainly will. But if the Rs lose, I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t bet against it, but there’s a possibility Rossi will decide to look forward rather than back.

    Anyway, with not much conviction I guess I would advise Johnson not to recuse himself, partly because if he did recuse himself all the KnowNothings would be ranting for others on the Court to do likewise, and, as has been noted, it is unlikely that there are any saints sitting there. If he did recuse himself, what would be his reason? Presumably it would be because he formerly worked for the BIAW and the BIAW supported both his campaign for SC and Rossi for governor, and that this would have the appearance of influencing his deliberations. But, as has been pointed out, Fairhurst formerly worked in the AG’s office for Gregoire. Yes, there is a BIG difference between the two, but still some bias could be imputed. Similarly, I have little doubt about which candidate Richard Sanders favored, and probably with considerable feeling. Political leanings, as we learned from the U.S. Supreme Court, are just something we have to live with. Also, if Justice Johnson recuses himself, I will be deprived of an excellent opportunity to see what kind of justice he will be. Even if he voted in a way that displeased me, I would have the opportunity to listen to his questions to the plaintiffs and defendants, to perhaps read his opinion, and in that way to try to get his measure.

    But the most honest answer to your question is that I’m ambivalent.

  23. 27

    Don spews:

    ghost @ 18

    It was when I posted it. How did I know JCH had two pending posts in Goldy’s toilet … er, Goldy’s spam filter?

  24. 28

    Don spews:

    AV @ 20

    Paid leave to run for office? Hmmm, no, I don’t think so, unless Fairhurst had some vacation time coming.

  25. 30

    marks spews:

    RDC –

    As always, good thinking went into your post. I agree with your Rossi assessment, given what I think I would do in that situation, but one never knows…