W.Va. SC candidate files suits in response to blocked funding

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 31, 2012, 1:00pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Supreme Court candidate Allen Loughry this week filed a response to a federal lawsuit, filed earlier this month to block funding to his campaign.

In addition, Loughry filed a separate legal action in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, seeking to force the State Election Commission to follow the existing laws and provide his campaign with the additional funding.

Loughry is the only candidate in this year's Supreme Court race to opt into the public financing pilot program, which state lawmakers passed in an attempt to reduce the influence of special interest money.

In recent weeks, he has been critical of the Secretary of State's Office and SEC for their handling of the pilot program and contends that the SEC has been in direct violation of West Virginia law since at least the middle of July.

"The SEC's refusal to abide by the law is not only a violation of its constitutional duties, it also is a slap in the face to the state legislators who passed the law, as well as to then-Gov. Joe Manchin who pushed for and later signed the law," Loughry, a law clerk for the Court, said in a statement Monday.

"This unprecedented decision not to follow this law has the potential of single-handedly destroying the pilot project in addition to negatively impacting the entire Supreme Court election. The SEC is not permitted to simply disregard laws any more than a private citizen could decide he or she won't follow a law."

Loughry is represented in both suits by The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law and West Virginia attorney Marc Williams.

The Brennan Center is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Williams is a managing partner at the Huntington law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough LLP.

Loughry and circuit judge John Yoder received the GOP's nominations in an uncontested primary.

Loughry said Monday he is anxious to take on the fight on behalf of those West Virginians who want fair judicial elections.

To read the rest of this story, visit the West Virginia Record.

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