► Cleveland Plain Dealer - 10/12/04 - Chief Justice Thomas Moyer rapped on donor disclosures Print E-mail

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Oct. 12, 2004 - Chief Justice Thomas Moyer rapped on donor disclosures


Chief Justice Thomas Moyer rapped on donor disclosures
Retired judges appointed to cases
T.C. Brown – Plain Dealer Columbus Bureau
Columbus - Democrats criticized Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer on Monday for failing to identify campaign contributions from retired judges he has appointed to cases.
Moyer's campaign filed additional information with the Ohio secretary of state on Friday reporting $2,800 in contributions from 11 retired judges. Moyer, a Republican, has raised more than $1 million in a race against Democrat C. Ellen Connally, a retired Cleveland Municipal Court judge.
Moyer said the filing problem was an oversight, not a deliberate attempt to avoid campaign finance laws.
In the past Moyer identified the judges by an asterisk as a referral to a judge's status at the bottom of a page. This year the campaign's computer rejected that system, but a campaign employee failed to tell anyone. "It clearly was an oversight in our campaign office," Moyer said. "We caught it and called the secretary of state's office and they said send a letter. Good Lord. I am not hiding the fact that a few assigned judges make contributions to me."
But Democrats insisted a complaint filed against Moyer with the disciplinary counsel and "repeated calls" by Democrats prompted Moyer's action.
"For a supposed advocate of more disclosure, the chief justice should at least follow the current law," Dennis White, Ohio Democratic Party chairman, said in a news release. "It might be embarrassing to reveal that you receive contributions from people counting on you for work, but it is the law."
Moyer called White's statements "desperate." He assigns 130 retired judges to oversee cases. Campaign rules require candidates to identify court appointees' contributions and to report any compensation the appointee received from assignments in the past seven years.
Thomas Curran, of Shaker Heights, and his wife, Jeanne, gave Moyer $2,000. Democrats pointed out that Moyer asked Gov. Bob Taft in February 2003 to replace retiring Democratic Judge Kenneth Rocco of the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals with Curran for four days. That made Curran, who lost a seat on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in 2000, eligible to be appointed as a visiting judge.
Moyer said Curran, whom he did not know, was highly recommended by lawyers and judges and that is why he sought the appointment.
"I don't require assigned judges to contribute to my campaign to be assigned," Moyer said.
Self-described judicial watchdog David Palmer has filed a complaint against Moyer with the court's disciplinary office, accusing the chief justice of improperly having taken more than $25,000 since 1992 from active and retired judges that Palmer has identified as court employees.
Moyer said judges are not specifically solicited, and he has no idea of the amounts contributed over that period from specific individuals.
"I don't keep track of those numbers," Moyer said.

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