"However, he hasn't followed the current law. In 2009, as a result of contribution issues with Meg Scott Phipps and Jim Black, our legislature amended the threshold amount to $1000. It is no longer $3000. So if the filing fee for any position exceeds $1000, which it does for district court judge, that candidate is no longer exempt from filing financial reports with the State Board of Elections. (NCGS § 163‑278.10A). Storch hasn't updated his filings with the SBOE."
I haven't followed the law?! When I formed my committee in 2008, the threshold was $3,000 and I have sworn to not spend more than that, not just for a single election cycle, but for the entire duration of the campaign, which includes the primary and the subsequent general election. It is true that the threshold was lowered to $1,000.00 for the 2010 election year and I am holding true to my original promise to not spend more than $3,000.00.
When the law changed for the 2010 election cycle, lowering the threshold amount to $1,000.00, the official status of my committee changed from "threshold" to "non-exempt" since the required filing fee was $1,094.00. And that is the only amount of money I have spent and will spend this election cycle.
This will be reflected in my first quarter report that is due on April 26, 2010. I would have filed it back in February but election rules don't allow a candidate to file a "non-exempt" report until April 16th.
The bottom line is that I have not violated or broken any law. Judge Not, whoever he or she is, should pay attention to the State Board of Elections filing rules and schedules before making idiotic and defamatory allegations.
Moreover, I am asking for public support in the form of a vote only, not simply because I'm not taking campaign contributions. I am hoping for support from intelligent voters who recognize a qualified candidate who is willing to hold himself up to a higher ethical standard than those set by current election rules that condone the solicitation of campaign funds by judicial candidates, an activity that directly contradicts the first Canon of the North Carolina Code Judicial Conduct:
A judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
How can a judge maintain integrity when accepting money from attorneys with one hand, and then signing judicial orders for that same attorney with the other hand after the election?
It is this exact issue that lies at the core of my campaign for District Court judge in Durham county. It is the general rule that the biggest spender, e.g., more than thirty thousand dollars, is the winner in Durham's recent contested elections for District judge. The problem is that a majority of that campaign money comes from local attorneys who regularly appear in that candidate's courtroom after the election. Election laws allow this conduct but it is anathema to the notion of an independent and impartial judiciary. And the recent ruling in Citizen's United will only open the floodgates for special interest contributions.
I am the only candidate who is not accepting campaign donations, period. Moreover, I have sworn to run a "threshold campaign" which means that I will spend no more than three thousand dollars, total. (The filing fee alone is just over a thousand dollars). Rather than spend thousands of dollars on mass mailings and other ineffective forms of advertising, I've taken to the streets and have been knocking on doors for four months now, and have spoken to thousands of registered voters, one on one.
I'd rather lose a bid for a judicial seat having run on my experience and integrity than win by simply outspending my opposition. Qualifications should be the only relevant criteria for determining who should earn the privilege to serve as a judge.
Steven R. Storch, J.D., Ph.D.
Magistrate, Durham, NC
Candidate for District Court Judge, Durham, NC
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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