Backers of Judicial Retirement Changes Raise $350,000
ALBANY - The group formed by attorneys to promote a ballot question permitting some judges to stay on the bench until age 80 raised more than $350,000 in its first month of existence.
The Justice for All 2013 committee reported to the state Board of Elections that the bulk of its donations—$277,000—was received from law firms.
The group's largest benefactor so far is Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore of Manhattan, which donated $100,000 on Sept. 4.
One of its partners, Thomas Moore, is among the three dozen lawyers who formed Justice for All 2013 this summer to advocate for passage of the proposed amendment on the Nov. 5 statewide ballot (NYLJ, Sept. 9).
The attorneys, who include former chief judge Judith Kaye and former Court of Appeals associate judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, said they wanted a privately-funded vehicle to promote the ballot question. The Unified Court System is prohibited from using taxpayer resources to promote or oppose a proposed constitutional amendment.
As a political advocacy group, Justice for All 2013 must report its contributors and expenditures to the Board of Elections. The spending report covers the period through Oct. 4.
Other firms making large contributions were Block, O'Toole & Murphy ($25,000), Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz ($25,000) and Torgan, Cooper & Aaron ($25,000). Eight others kicked in $10,000 each: Cohen, Clair, Lans, Greifer & Thorpe; Trolman, Glaser & Litchman; Greenberg Traurig; Fleming, Zulack, Williamson & Zauderer; Latham & Watkins; Wachtell Lipton, Rosen & Katz; Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and Cooley LLP.
The largest individual contributors came from John Dearie ($10,000) of the Law Offices of John Dearie. Contributing $5,000 each were Alan Levine of Cooley; Lawrence Mandelker of Kantor, Davidoff, Mandelker, Twomey & Gallanty; James Quinn of Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Robert Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell; Robert Haig of Kelley Drye & Warren; Roy Scaffidi of Scaffidi & Associates; Roy Reardon of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Leo Milonas of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Fifty-one individuals and 21 law firms contributed to the committee between Sept. 4, when it was formed, and Oct. 4, the final day of the Board of Elections' filing period ending 32 days before the general election.
John Conklin, a spokesman for the Board of Elections, said there are no limits on individual or corporate contributions to committees promoting or opposing statewide ballot questions.