I’ve learned this about Mississippi politics – you can NOT make this stuff up.
Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens in his most recent campaign finance report had a doozy on his expenditure line. He spent $1,076 on a “piano for campaign office.” Kitchens is being challenged by MS Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis in what will likely be the marquee state political race in 2016.
Now, I don’t care if Kitchens can play the boogie-woogie like Bill Murray on Groundhog Day or if he has a tip jar on top of his campaign piano for campaign contributions.
But the Clarion Ledger, fresh off calling the lack of campaign finance reform “legalized bribery” and excoriating mostly Republicans for months in feature pieces about campaign contributions going to garage doors, $800 boots, and special deals at a trailer park, you’d think would engage on this one.
For sure, Kitchens is a folksy media darling, but if Kitchens were a Republican, it’d be a no doubt above the fold story with special web feature layouts like they did on the others. Speaking of which, on the same disbursement there’s cash going to the Democratic Party in a supposedly non-partisan race. That seems in absolute direct violation of MS Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 5(A)(1)(c) which says judicial candidates shall not –
(c) solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, attend political gatherings, or purchase tickets for political party dinners, or other political functions.
Both Sam Hall and Geoff Pender have been real outspoken about this campaign finance subject. It will be good to see them re-engage on this issue with the same zeal as these last few articles.