To the editor:
Mr. Barron and supporters continuously mention a "grass roots, self-funded" campaign. We write to recommend to the voters of Mifflin County that they do not take this statement at face value, but look closer into the facts Mr. Barron and his supporters fail to mention.
Contrary to what they imply, Judge Searer has never solicited funds or contributions for his re-election campaign. To do so, by any candidate for judicial office, would violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. At the time he announced his candidacy for re-election, Judge Searer authorized the formation of a committee of responsible persons to do what he cannot, solicit publicly stated support for and handle all financial aspects of his campaign. As always, Judge Searer chose to act in accordance not only with all Pennsylvania Campaign Finance and Election Laws, but more importantly, with the ethical requirements of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
On the other hand, Judge Searer's opponent did not form a committee until June. His website claims it was necessary to comply with "regulations." Judicial ethics are more than mere regulations. Why is this compliance now a concern? Why was this committee not formed until after the May Primary Election?
Judge Searer has himself contributed two-thirds of the monies received by his committee. The balance of the contributions have come from family, long-time personal friends, neighbors, law school classmates and others who recognize the importance and expense of placing Judge Searer's record and message of experience and excellence before the voters. Every penny contributed to Judge Searer's campaign and every penny spent in support of it is listed and accounted for by our committee.
Included among our contributors are six attorneys from Mifflin County and six from surrounding counties. There are numerous other attorneys supporting Judge Searer, not with financial contributions, but with their personal words of encouragement to him and by their words to others about their support. These are all attorneys who represent us when we need their counsel and recognize the importance of solid, experienced leadership on our local court. If you don't already know, ask your lawyer his or her opinion about this election.
To suggest that Judge Searer's reputation for judicial excellence and ethical conduct can be compromised or that the local attorneys we rely on to represent us believe his decisions can be influenced is ludicrous. Cheap assertions, with absolutely no basis in fact, are just that - cheap.
Mr. Barron should look at the definition of "contribution." He will see that campaign pamphlets distributed in pizza or donut boxes qualify as a "contribution" as do monetary or in-kind donations from relatives. In any form, these can never be accepted by a judicial candidate. If made to a committee, they must be reported. If not reported, they should have been.
With his openness and compliance with all campaign laws, and especially with the Code of Judicial Conduct, Judge Searer has again demonstrated why experience matters and he is the best choice to serve the next 10 years as our judge.
Committee to Re-Elect Judge Tim Searer
Mary Ann Stratton, Treasurer
Joel Diamond, Finance Chair