UPDATED: Did Judge Lazarus Violate Judicial Canons?
The recent ridiculous "Convicted Criminal" mailers targeting Broward County Commission candidate Chip LaMarca is indeed tied directly to Broward Mayor Ken Keechl's campaign.
Turns out that the address of the "Broward Good Government Committee" is the same one used by Keechl campaign consultant Eric Johnson. A former chief of staff to ex-Congressman Robert Wexler, Johnson's political company, Johnson Campaigns, is based in the same condo suite at Jackson Tower Las Olas as the committee.
As if that weren't enough, a letter written by Tallahassee lawyer Mark Herron to Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes creating the "Good Government Government Committee," Herron cc's Johnson.
Keechl's campaign has paid Johnson's firm $8,000 so far for consultant services, according to election records.
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(You may have seen this first in the comments on yesterdy's post. Thanks to the readers for the heads-up on this one).
There you have it. Remember that these dirty tactics come from a guy, Mayor Keechl, who took Ponzi money from Joel Steinger, a convicted felon and obvious crook, to crush his fraud victims in court. Unbelievable. And Keechl's former law firm was part and parcel of Steinger's Mutual Benefits fraud. In fact Keechl's former partner, Michael McNerney is awaiting trial on federal conspiracy and money laundering charges.
Inside, see how a Broward County judge yesterday used his official pulpit to spread a right-wing tax agenda in an attempt to influence tomorrow's elections.
Broward County Judge Joel Lazarus sent an email blast yesterday to all other Broward judges, judicial assistants, and courthouse staff that led off, "This isn't a Halloween 'scare' story, unfortunately."
The email then included a story written by Kiplingers letters senior tax editor Joan Pryde that warn that three "tax waves" will hit everyone. The first is the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the second is the return of the estate tax (or "death tax," as GOPers call it), and the third is the coming of Obamacare. You can read the politically loaded piece -- which might have been written by Karl Rove -- here.
After the article, the Lazarus email continues: "THERE, NOW DON'T YOU FEEL STIMULATED?! Why am I sending you this? The same reason I hope you forward this to every single person in your address book. People have the right to know the truth because an election is coming in November!"
Lazarus has already gotten some backlash for the email, which seems to me borders on teabaggery. Broward County Teen Court Case Manager David Tilbury fired off a reply to everyone this morning.
You are violating all of our county regulations that forbid attempting to influence or even speak on political matters. As a judge you should no [sic] better. If there is some sort of exemption for judges that I am not aware of forgive me. While I may personally think the 1st Amendment trumps such rules it troubles me how flagrantrly you engaged in this conduct and how you are actually spreading many misunderstood or false claims.
As a disabled parent with a recently deceased daughter who was also disabled, medicaid helped us and helped her live four years and laugh and play. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE MEDICAID. People in YOUR tax bracket need to cough up YOUR share which by European standards would be about 40%! Do your duty and pay up your honor.
Teen Court Case Manager
UPDATED: The question is whether Lazarus violated judicial canons with his endorsement of the GOP view. Canon 7 forbids a judge from publicly endorsing or publicly opposing any candidate for office. While Lazarus didn't endorse a single candidate, he did basically endorse all candidates who oppose Obama, i.e., Republicans.
Could be an interesting case.
(For background on Lazarus, see how, as a prosecutor, he offered a sweetheart deal to one of the worst serial killers in Broward County history and abruptly and inexplicably threw out the most serious corruption charge levied against former Hollywood Commissioner Keith Wasserstrom.)
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