EARLE BANKS 601.316.2856

During an Oct. 4 interview with a local Jackson TV station,1 , sitting Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr., admits that he violated judicial campaign ethics by gaining knowledge of his contributors–something prohibited by the Canons of Judicial Conduct. When he made the admission, Waller was being asked by a WJTV reporter to address complaints that his campaign is being run by political action committees (PACs). The questions came following the revelation that several PACs are listed on his campaign’s fundraising materials. The statement also conflicts with prior public statements by Waller. “This controversy goes well beyond special interest groups contributing to Justice Waller’s campaign and his misrepresentation of his knowledge of that support,” Banks said. “Justice Waller’s literature makes it clear that special interest PACs are running his campaign --controlling his campaign–- as Chairs and Co-Chairs of the campaign. This is unprecedented in Mississippi judicial politics and it stinks to high Heaven.” At a press luncheon on Oct. 1, Waller told the crowd that he had “no personal knowledge”2 of political action committee (PAC) financial support of his campaign, consistent with the applicable ethical rules. The Banks campaign then produced a Sept. 18 fund raising invitation, paid for by Waller’s campaign, raising questions regarding the propriety of special interest control of Waller’s campaign and Waller’s knowledge of their involvement.3 In the televised interview,4 Waller now admits that he “glanced at” the PAC list and that he “should not look at that.” Waller did not address why he misrepresented his knowledge of the PAC involvement in the Oct. 1 press luncheon.

Banks has decided not to file a formal complaint with the Mississippi Judicial Performance Commission and will, instead, “Let the voters decide,” says Banks. James Stewart, the Treasurer of the Banks campaign, said, “Rep. Banks has demanded that we not even talk about money in his presence. And we had to decline a significant PAC contribution this week.” Banks previously stated that he did not believe there were any PACs that could contribute to him because, “They are all on Justice Waller’s staff.” Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, whose judicial battles with special interest groups were chronicled in the award winning film “Hot Coffee,” said, “My clash with special interest attempts to buy the bench involved clandestine campaign finance schemes to buy justice, which were allegedly kept secret from my opponent. Campaign literature, which all but brags about the financial support of PAC’s and special interest groups in a judicial election, is even more disturbing. Public confidence in the judiciary is at an all-time low with a majority of people believing that campaign contributions affect the outcome of judicial decisions. Justice should not be a commodity that can be bought and sold through campaign contributions.” ### Additional contact info: PRESS NOTES: 1. 2. ue (at 1:50) Former Justice Oliver Diaz (601) 862.8480


The invitation lists two of the state’s largest lobbying firms, Capitol Resources and the Clay Firm, as two of the campaign’s “Chairmen,” and lists over a dozen PACs as Co-Chairs of the campaign or fund raiser. Four more PACs are listed as hosts of the fund raiser. Numerous other special interest groups are listed as both Co-Chairs and Hosts.