To the editor:
I believe one of the most compelling reasons why Mifflin County voters should cast their ballot for Dave Barron for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas is because of his refusal to accept campaign donations. Neither Dave Barron nor the Barron for Judge committee has accepted money for his campaign. His entire campaign has been self-funded with all money coming from the candidate's own pocket.
Is the lure to accept money from others there? Were offers made? Certainly, but when I asked Dave for the reasons behind his position he told me he felt strongly that it was wrong to accept money from anyone in case his judgment would then be tainted if he was successfully elected.
Through Pennsylvania Department of State's Campaign Finance website, you can view campaign finance reports for both of our local candidates for judge. The candidates are required to file for certain time periods before and after an election. The reports must show the money received and spent.
Judge Tim Searer's committee collected $11,160 leading up to and immediately following the spring primary. Information about money donated throughout the summer and early fall is not yet available. This amount was collected from family, friends, neighbors, doctors, business people and attorneys. The majority of these contributors are listed as having Mifflin County addresses.
How could a judge possibly perform his job fairly and objectively if a contributor came before him in court? Wouldn't he feel obligated to a donor who shows up in his courtroom? Clearly, the most troubling aspect is accepting donations from attorneys. Would it be far fetched to think that an attorney would feel pressure to contribute so they wouldn't face repercussions later on? Wouldn't a judge have bias toward the attorney who gave him money over the one that didn't?
I cannot know for certain the answers to these questions, but the circumstances certainly give the perception that justice is for sale.
Fundraising is part of politics everywhere and at every level. But isn't it wonderful to know that we have a local candidate who refuses to take part in that? We can make a choice to not be a part of that money driven system too by casting our votes for Dave Barron. A candidate who took a stand and said no to campaign donations.