Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy R. Koschnick has asked the Greater Wisconsin Committee (GWC) to discontinue running an independent ad, which the campaign claims makes unsupported accusations about the Supreme Court candidate’s record on the bench.
But the Milwaukee-based advocacy group that became the first, and so far the only, third-party group to run television ads in this year’s state Supreme Court race, has no plans of removing the ad it began running this week.
In fact, an attorney for GWC sent the Koschnick campaign a letter calling for the judge to “cease and desist from making false statements” about the organization or its officials.
GWC Executive Director Michelle McGrorty said Koschnick erroneously claims that the 30-second ad entitled “Victims” has no factual evidence to support its assertions that the judge sides with corporate interests and against victims.
McGrorty also said that neither she nor GWC ever admitted to making unsubstantiated claims in the ad, contrary to statements from the Koschnick campaign.
“It’s interesting to have a judge you can’t trust to tell the truth,” McGrorty said. “That’s very distressing.”
Koschnick’s campaign advisor Seamus Flaherty said he had no comment on the cease and desist request from GWC. But he noted that the campaign will continue to call for the ad’s removal and has contacted several television stations around the state.
“Our position is the ad has no basis and what they [GWC] provided was a series of newspaper articles where Judge Koschnick made philosophical criticisms of Chief Justice Abrahamson,” Flaherty said. “Certainly there is nothing in his record which indicates he sides with big corporations or the wealthy and powerful.”
The GWC ad emphasizes incumbent Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson’s record of protecting victims and notes two cases, Ferdon v. Patients Compensation Fund and Thomas v. Mallett, as evidence.
Though the ad does not cite any decisions by Koschnick, McGrorty said that the judge’s own public criticism of the rulings in Ferdon and Mallett, show that he sides with big corporate special interests and against victims.
“If he would rule that a lead paint company not be held accountable for poisoning children or a drunken surgeon should not have to pay damages for what he did, I would say that’s not supporting the victim and I think most people would,” McGrorty said.
Abrahamson’s campaign has refrained from commenting on the content of the ad and also has not responded to a request by Koschnick to denounce false attacks from third-party interest groups.
In a brief letter to the Koschnick campaign, Abrahamson’s advisor Heather Colburn stated that if the judge “believes any ad raises issues, it is up to him and his campaign to decide whether and how to pursue them.”