Progress NC Action Calls on Former Justice Burley Mitchell to Denounce Judicial Attack Ad

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Raleigh — Progress North Carolina Action today urged its supporters to contact former Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell and tell him to denounce a last minute attack ad against Sam Ervin IV.

Mitchell has been a key figure and board member in the North Carolina Judicial Coalition, a superPAC supporting Paul Newby. The attack ad, seen here, was run by the NC Justice for All superPAC – a major financier of the North Carolina Judicial Coalition.

In response to emails, Mitchell has responded with a form letter:

Neither I nor any PAC, organization or person I am associated has had anything directly or indirectly to do with the political commercial running I am told is running against Judge Ervin. Please ask whoever has told you otherwise to check their facts more carefully before misinforming you. Thank you for your interest in the judiciary, Burley Mitchell

Of course that response is not painting the full picture. Burley Mitchell’s North Carolina Judicial Coalition has received $1.28 million from NC Justice for All. In addition, both super PACs used the same advertising agency to produce their television spots. We think that’s a lot of association, direct and indirect.

Finally, we would be naive to think that these two superPACs are not coordinating their efforts.  Here’s how the Raleigh News & Observer described the arrangement:

“Allowing Justice for All to do the dirty work  of running negative TV ads keeps the more prominent members of the Judicial Coalition at arms length.”

“If Burley Mitchell did not have anything to do with this smear campaign against Sam Ervin – as he says he does not – then why won’t he publicly denounce the ad?” asked Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress NC Action.  “As a former Supreme Court justice himself, Mr. Mitchell is in a unique position to condemn these tactics.  But the silence implies approval.”

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