Campaign Donation Claims Steal Spotlight At Candidate Forum

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William O'Neill, a retired appeals court judged seeking a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court, criticized Justices Robert Cupp and Terrance O'Donnell for accepting contributions from the Political Action Committee of a utility company just before ruling in the company's favor.(Photo: S. Falcow (Flickr))
William O'Neill, a retired appeals court judged seeking a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court, criticized Justices Robert Cupp and Terrance O'Donnell for accepting contributions from the Political Action Committee of a utility company just before ruling in the company's favor.(Photo: S. Falcow (Flickr))

A challenger for the Ohio Supreme Court stole the show during a Wednesday candidates’ forum when he accused two incumbents of wrongly accepting campaign donations.

Retired appeals court judge William O’Neill said Justices Robert Cupp and Terrance O’Donell participated in Supreme Court arguments on a case involving First Energy, Corp. and its subsidiary Ohio Edison.

“Two weeks later, their political action committee wrote a check for $6,300 to Justice Cupp, and $6,300 to Justice O’Donnell. Four weeks later, (Cupp and O’Donnell) ruled in their favor,” O’Neill said.

I am not saying that’s a crooked decision, but I am saying that it’s impossible to avoid the appearance of impropriety when you accept money from a litigant and then rule on their case.

O’Donnell said O’Neill was only making the claim to boost his campaign.

He hasn’t had the integrity to tell you that grievance was determined by a panel of three judges to be no conduct violating the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct.

O’Neill has said judicial candidates should be barred from accepting campaign contributions. Justice Cupp defended the practice, saying “I’ve not found any radio or TV outlets or newspapers in this state who are willing to run advertisements for candidates without charging them

Click the play button above to hear more from yesterday’s candidates’ forum..

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