Lawyer-funded PAC running negative campaign against Barberis, Moore finishes out with robo calls

By Ann Maher | Nov 8, 2016

Attacks against Republican candidates for the Fifth District Appellate Court finished recently with negative robo calls, reminiscent of the well-funded, 11th hour targeting of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier in 2014. .

Attacks against Republican candidates for the Fifth District Appellate Court finished with negative robo calls, reminiscent of the trial lawyer-funded, 11th hour campaign against Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier in 2014.

Two years ago, lawyers raised and spent $2 million in a failed attempt to oust the Republican justice from the high court. This year, trial lawyers - mainly from the asbestos bar - have funded a $1 million attack against Republicans John Barberis and James "Randy" Moore.

The asbestos lawyers who have contributed to Fair Courts Now litigate in Madison County, the nation's busiest asbestos court.

At stake is the balance of the court which currently is 4-3 Democrat to Republican. If the effort put forth by Fair Courts Now to defeat the Republican judges is successful and Democrat candidates Jo Beth Weber and Brad Bleyer win, the balance of the court will shift to 6-1.

In these final days before the election, messages in some robo calls have described Barberis and Moore as "activist" judges - a term generally resented by Republican-leaning voters.

In the final days of Karmeier's retention campaign, robo calls placed to Republican households described Karmeier as a "bleeding heart liberal." In calls placed to Democratic households, he was described as "ultra right wing."

Despite the negative campaign against Karmeier, he was retained by a slim margin. He needed at least 60 percent voter approval and ended up with 60.71 approval.

Contributions to date to Fair Courts Now total $1,077,500. Contributors are:

Simmons of Alton - $250,000

Maune Raichle of St. Louis - $250,000

Gori Julian of Edwardsville - $235,000

Shrader of Houston - $100,000

SWMK of St. Louis - $50,000

Keefe of Belleville - $50,000

Flint of Glen Carbon - $25,000

Pohlman Reporting of St. Louis - $25,000

Cooney Conway of Chicago - $15,000

RPWB of Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - 0 $15,000

US Periodic Payment (structured settlement) of Buffalo, N.Y. - $10,000

Bullock Campbell of Hosuton - $10,000

Sarah Paszkiewicz (court reporter) of Maryville - $10,000

Dubose Law of Dallas - $10,000

Driscoll Law of St. Louis - $10,000

Charles Valles of Flower Mound, Texas - $5,000

Clay Fostel of Houston - $5,000

James Farrell of Houston - $2,500

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Organizations in this Story

Cooney & Conway Illinois Supreme Court Simmons Hanly Conroy

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