Advocacy group calls for recusal of health-care judge over investments
An advocacy group is calling on a federal judge to recuse himself from litigation involving Virginia's challenge of the federal health-care law because the judge has held investments in an online communications firm whose clients include major Republican groups that have called for the law's repeal.
According to financial disclosure forms, U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson owned stock in Campaign Solutions Inc. from 2003 to 2008, receiving dividends from the company. Campaign Solutions' clients have included the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), who filed Virginia's suit, also paid the company almost $9,000 for services this year and last.
Tom McMahon, executive director of the progressive group Americans United for Change, called Hudson's stock ownership -- first reported by the Huffington Post --"troubling."
"In a case that could have potentially sweeping national implications for the American people, Judge Hudson should address this appearance of conflict head on by immediately recusing himself," McMahon said in a statement. "Anything less would cast a shadow of doubt over the objectivity and fairness of further proceedings."
Campaign Solutions released a statement to the Huffington Post noting that Hudson has owned stock in the company since it was founded 13 years ago, before he was appointed to the bench in 2002.
"Since joining the federal bench, he has fully disclosed his stock ownership in the company. He is a passive investor only, has no knowledge of the day to day operations of the firm, and has never discussed any aspect of the business with any official of the company," the company's statement continued.
Hudson declined to comment beyond the company's statement.
Cuccinelli called Hudson's tie to the company "so unbelievably distant as to be irrelevant."
"I've been in front of Judge Hudson before. I've been before him when he was a state court judge, a circuit court judge in Fairfax. I've had rulings go my way. And I've had rulings go against me, including some significant ones," he said. "So there's really no track record that ties him, in that respect."
Tracy Schmaler, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment.
August 3, 2010; 5:32 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
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