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Surprise! Your Insurance Premiums Are Buying Judges

State Farm tried to buy a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court so they wouldn't have to pay a one billion-with-a-B dollar fine. It was cheaper to buy an election.
Surprise! Your Insurance Premiums Are Buying Judges

The sooner we can overturn Citizens United, the better. Just look at the dollar amounts mentioned in this news item via the Brennan Center.

And yet paying for schools and healthcare is decried as socialism?

State Farm Settles for $250 Million in Racketeering Case About Judicial Election

This week, just before trial was set to begin in a federal racketeering lawsuit alleging insurance giant State Farm orchestrated a scheme to influence an Illinois Supreme Court election, to avoid a $1 billion verdict against them, the company settled for $250 million.

The original $1.1 billion verdict came down in 1999, five years before Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in the most expensive state supreme court race of all time. The year after Karmeier’s election, he cast a crucial vote overturning the award against State Farm.

According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs in the current litigation alleged that, in order to avoid payment of the billion-dollar judgment, State Farm led “an effort to recruit a judge friendly to its cause for the Illinois Supreme Court, secretly funding Judge Lloyd Karmeier’s 2004 election campaign by funneling money through advocacy groups that didn’t disclose donors.” The plaintiffs claimed that State Farm spent more than $3.5 million to elect Karmeier, who was scheduled to testify at trial. The plaintiffs sought $8.5 billion in damages.

Alicia Bannon, Deputy Director for Program Management at the Brennan Center for Justice, explained, “One of the concerns that underlies this case is that courts are increasingly hearing cases involving major campaign supporters, creating the appearance that they may be putting a thumb on the scale when they make decisions. So the idea that big money interests in judicial elections are affecting the integrity of our court systems is a very real concern.”

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