Paseur, Democrats, Huntsville Time = Axis of Smear
The Alabama Federation of Republican Women
Today is a sad day for the State of Alabama. In the biggest smear campaign since the "Skunk" ad run on Justice Harold See, Judge Deborah Bell Paseur's campaign, the State Democratic Party, and the Huntsville Times have set a course to ruin the credibility and personal integrity of Judge Greg Shaw. They have done this through four days of continuous lies, false accusations, negative advertising, misinformation, and sloppy reporting.
This began with the negative campaign ad "Only," in which Judge Paseur broke her pledge to run a positive campaign and claimed that she was the "only candidate not supported by oil companies". Judge Shaw had not received any money from oil companies, but had received contributions from the same sources that also contributed to Paseur. These were the very contributions that Paseur had relied on to accuse Judge Shaw of accepting "oil money". As a result, Paseur claims to have returned the two contributions but refused to pull the negative, false, and misleading ads from TV.
It was also discovered that Judge Paseur intentionally directed the "oil money" contribution, as she defines it, through the Alabama Democratic Party. This contribution was run through the Democratic Party at her request so that she did not have to show "oil money" contribution on her financial statement. The purpose of this deceitful action on the part of Paseur's campaign and the Alabama Democratic Party was to allow her to run the negative attack ad against Judge Shaw. This deceitful action shows the collaborative attempt by the Alabama Democratic Party to be the partner in this Axis Of Smear.
"And to think Judge Paseur started this campaign by singing Amazing Grace. You know, at this point, apologizing to the voters is just not enough. She should be asking for forgiveness. This irresponsible behavior of Judge Paseur and her cronies is dishonorable. It's the biggest political smear in an Alabama judicial race that I have ever seen in my lifetime," says Judge Shaw.
But with the release of an article in the Huntsville Times stating that Judge Shaw's family has tax liens, Judge Paseur's AXIS of SMEAR gained their mouthpiece. "It's one thing to fight with an unethical political party," says Shaw, "it's one thing to fight with an unethical opponent, but it's an entirely different thing to have to fight an unprofessional reporter and a newspaper that buys its ink by the barrel."
On Saturday, The Huntsville Times erroneously reported that Judge Greg Shaw had received $55,000 in loans from Shaw Oil Company and claimed Shaw Oil was a family business which has tax liens. The fact is, Judge Shaw's father, James Shaw, sold Shaw Oil Company and its good name in 2001 and has not loaned Judge Shaw's Supreme Court campaign a dime. The name "Shaw Oil" was retained by the new owner because of the great reputation the company had at the time of the sale. The sale of the company occurred on April 25, 2001, and was "free and clear of all liens".
The Huntsville Times received the intentionally misleading information in a statewide press release from the Alabama Democratic Party. Reporter Bob Lowry contacted the Shaw campaign but when the campaign's Communication Director Josh Cooper could not reach Judge Shaw to clarify questions posed by Lowry, Lowry ran with the story anyway. At best, this was reckless and negligent reporting. At worst, it was an intentional attempt to spin a story and smear the reputation of an honest man and respected Judge.
This isn't the first time The Huntsville Times and reporter Bob Lowry have incorrectly reported things about the Supreme Court race. On September 20, 2008, they reported that Judge Shaw's opponent had been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP actually has endorsed Judge Greg Shaw. In total, Judge Shaw is endorsed or supported by 26 statewide organizations that represent over a million Alabamians. In mentioning the FOP endorsement, at least twice, The Huntsville Times and Lowry have incorrectly reported the FOP as the "State Order of Fraternal Police".
"At first I thought it was just sloppy reporting. But after running with the tax lien story without investigating the false information that the Democratic Party had provided, I am certain that they are deliberately trying to mislead voters. Other reporters easily determined that this information was false. I feel that this is slanderous and negligent behavior and it will not go unanswered," says Shaw.
Judge Shaw will be corresponding over the next few days with State Bar President Mark White about this smear tactic by the Paseur campaign. Judge Shaw has already contacted the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee and he will decide within a few days whether he will file a formal complaint. The campaign will have more on this in the coming days.
"For months, these people have tarnished the honor of our Supreme Court, they have maliciously attacked me, and now they have gone after my family, claims Judge Shaw, "I have shown enormous restraint but this has gone far enough."