Advisory committee on campaign conduct rebukes new judge

Flier handed out for Anne Arundel's Asti was misleading, group says

January 13, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

A judicial campaign conduct committee rebuked the winner of an Anne Arundel County judicial race this week, saying her Election Day campaign flier was misleading.

The Maryland Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee, which has no power to impose penalties for violations of its voluntary standards, cited Alison Asti of Pasadena. She was sworn in as a Circuit Court judge last month in a victory that booted recently appointed Ronald Jarashow off the bench.

The judicial campaign that pitted two appointees of Gov. Martin O'Malley against Asti, a Republican, became heated and partisan.

The flier's elements included, among other things, the black-and-yellow color scheme used by sitting judges Jarashow and Laura Kiessling in their joint campaign material. But it implied that Asti and Kiessling were running together, the committee wrote.

Asti, former head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, had denied any wrongdoing in that and another allegation. The allegations were raised by Ann LoLordo, a Crownsville resident and former editor of The Baltimore Sun's editorial and commentary pages.

The second allegation claimed that a $150-a-person fundraiser for Asti violated rules barring judges from fundraising except during an election. Sales for the Dec. 7 event, which was to offset the thousands of dollars Asti lent her campaign, occurred after Election Day but before Asti was sworn in. The conduct committee said the fundraiser did not violate its standards of dignity or impartiality.

Established to promote dignity in judicial elections, the committee left the legal questions to other agencies.

Jarashow has sought a probe by the state prosecutor, Maryland's attorney general and the Anne Arundel state's attorney.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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