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State bar wants to prohibit secret judicial ads
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The State Bar of Michigan is calling for an end to secretly funded judicial campaign ads by requiring disclosure of the expenditures.
The organization that represents all lawyers and judges in the state has sent a letter to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson asking her to require disclosure.
Under a 2004 interpretive statement from Johnson's predecessor, only ads that urge voters to support or oppose a specific candidate are subject to campaign finance requirements. So-called "issue" ads are exempt.
State Bar President Bruce Courtade said Thursday the possibility of bias arises when the public doesn't know who has funded the campaigns of judges. The bar says its request to the Republican secretary of state only involves judicial campaigns and not general campaigns.
Johnson was not available for immediate comment.