Republican Stephen McGlynn on Monday filed two more ethics complaints against his opponent in the race for the Fifth District Appellate Court, his campaign manager said.
McGlynn contends in one of his complaints that a recently aired radio commercial paid for by the campaign committee of Democrat Judy Cates violates ethical rules for judicial advertising because it is misleading and references pending matters.
McGlynn, a St. Clair County circuit judge, made a similar complaint earlier this month over one of Cates' television ads and Cates, a Swansea trial attorney, lodged a complaint with the state Board of Elections against McGlynn .
Cates’ campaign manager, Barzin Emami, said in a statement that “Steve McGlynn cannot hide his judicial record behind lawyers. The fact is, as a judge, McGlynn has put drug dealers back on the streets instead of keeping our communities safe.”
The ad at the crux of McGlynn’s complaint to the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Standing Committee on Supreme/Appellate Election Campaign Tone and Conduct states, “When a man arrested for possession of crack cocaine had his Cadillac Escalade and cash seized by police, McGlynn ordered the car and cash be returned.
“In another case,” the ad states, “a man arrested for possession of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school got his cash and keys to his Ford Explorer back from McGlynn. Stephen McGlynn puts drug dealers back in business. Law enforcement across Southern Illinois endorses Judy Cates for Appellate Judge. They have good reason.”
Pointing to the ad itself and a pair of orders from the two cases referenced in it, Emami said “These actions are contrary to Illinois Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act.”
McGlynn’s campaign manager, Matthew Pickett, however, said in a statement that Cates’ “ad is a complete fabrication.”
Pickett said the ad is misleading because “McGlynn doesn’t hear criminal cases so he doesn’t make determinations of guilt or innocence of alleged drug dealers. Judy Cates knows these facts, which is why her ad is all the more disturbing.”
The two cases mentioned in the radio ad, Pickett said, are “actually civil matters in which Judge McGlynn required the State to present reliable evidence before it could deprive citizens of their money or their car or other property,” Pickett said.
When the state didn’t provide this evidence, McGlynn “determined the State failed to follow the law and would not let it take people’s property under such circumstances,” Pickett said, adding that, “Neither of the two individuals involved in the cases Cates references have been convicted of selling illegal drugs.”
McGlynn claims in his complaint that he became aware of the radio ad Monday morning, after which time he reviewed all of the civil forfeiture cases he’s handled to determine which cases the ad referenced.
Both Emami and Pickett provided redacted documentation for the two cases. The case numbers included in the documents were the same.
Also on Monday, Pickett said McGlynn filed a second complaint with the ISBA committee over alleged robocalls.
“Today, Judy Cates’s daughter sent out robocalls in support of her mother. Around that same time, another robocall utilizing the same telephone number was sent out and accused Judge Steve McGlynn of supporting the closure of the Murray Center in Centralia. This robocall is false and grossly misleading,” Pickett said.
Pickett said McGlynn supports the efforts of local Republican lawmakers who are trying to keep the Center open while Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Democrats “are the ones who want to close the Murray Center and impact thousands of lives in the middle of the Fifth Appellate District.”
Emami declined to comment on McGlynn’s complaint over the alleged robocalls. As of 6:30 p.m. Monday, Pickett had not yet provided The Record with a copy of this complaint. He did provide McGlynn’s complaint over Cates’ radio ad.
The two complaints McGlynn made Monday bring the total number of complaints filed by both candidates up to four.
Earlier this month, Cates filed a complaint against McGlynn with the Illinois State Board of Elections. It accused McGlynn’s campaign committee of failing to disclose in-kind contributions related to his use of a company’s plane for an Oct. 2 fly-around.
McGlynn’s committee reported the contribution the day after Cates filed the complaint. It explained that it didn’t report the contribution immediately because it had not received an invoice from the company’s owner, but asked for it early in light of the complaint.
The board last week dismissed Cates’ complaint after determining it “was not filed upon justifiable grounds.” The dismissal of the complaint, however, does not preclude the Board of Elections from assessing a penalty if it finds the disclosure was filed late.
Also earlier this month, McGlynn filed a complaint with the ISBA committee over one of Cates’ television ads.
Like the one he made Monday over Cates’ radio ad, McGlynn claimed Cates’ television commercial violates ethical rules for judicial advertising under Supreme Court Rule 67, as well as an ISBA pledge judicial candidates signed earlier this year.
That commercial claims that McGlynn “played a major role” in Illinois’ No. 1 ranking for home foreclosures.
It states, McGlynn “alone has signed more than 2,000 foreclosure orders evicting families from their homes. So many he got himself a big rubber stamp.”
The ISBA committee on Friday recommended that Cates pull the ad, saying it “erroneously states that your opponent’s entry of foreclosure orders amounts to ‘evicting families from their homes.’”
Following the committee’s recommendation, Cates’ campaign said in a statement that it had no plans of changing the ad, which it described as “entirely accurate on the facts.”