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Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Health-care judge says he has no day-to-day involvement with GOP firm

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A federal judge who ruled Monday that a key provision of the nation's sweeping health-care overhaul is unconstitutional said recently that he had no plans to divest from a Republican campaign consulting firm. In a recent interview, U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson said that he invested in the company before joining the bench in 2002 and that he has no day-to-day involvement with the company.

In the interview, a rarity for a sitting federal judge, Hudson said he and his wife invested in Campaign Solutions Inc. at the invitation of friend and neighbor Becki Donatelli, the company's founder and a major Republican fundraiser, more than a decade ago. Other than suggesting the firm to some charitable organizations, he's had no involvement since.

Liberal groups have for months called attention to Hudson's interest in the firm, which has done work for the Republican National Committee and other conservative groups. Some have called for him to recuse himself from the case over it. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), who brought the case on behalf of the commonwealth, also paid the firm $9,000 for work this year and last. That criticism has been renewed since his opinion was released Monday.

In the interview -- conducted just two weeks before the ruling -- Hudson said criticism like that about his investment "rolls off" after so many years in public life.

"I try my best to approach the law by identifying the issue and going to the cases and trying to determine not only what the majority opinion is, but what the right and logical approach is," he said.

Cuccinelli canceled his account with the firm after Hudson's investments became public. In August, 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 then. "So there's really no track record that ties him, in that respect."

At the time, Tom McMahon, executive director of the progressive group Americans United for Change, called Hudson's stock ownership "troubling" and called for his recusal.

"Anything less would cast a shadow of doubt over the objectivity and fairness of further proceedings," he said.

You can read more of Hudson's comments in a profile that ran of the judge in The Post last week, including his contention that football player Michael Vick shows how the legal system should work. (Hudson was the judge who sentenced Vick to almost two years in prison for his role in a dog-fighting operation.)

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 14, 2010; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: McDonnell, Cuccinelli praise Hudson's decision on health care

Comments

"...criticism like that about his investment "rolls off" after so many years in public life."

Yeah, that's what happens when a judge is so horrendously morally corrupt.

I fear he is representative of judges on every level of our society. What a shame they don't realize that what we seen them do in cities, counties and states across the country make us have contempt for our legal system.

Posted by: edismae | December 14, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The judge, if he is a reasonably rational and moral person, knows what is the right thing to do -- recuse himself or end his investment. Why has he not done it? Perhaps he is not reasonably rational and moral. A judge? Named to the bench by whom?

Posted by: sbuck | December 14, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"Avoid the appearance of impropriety" means nothing to this scumbag hack. He was a crummy prosecutor, a dope on the bench in Fairfax, and now cashing in on the Clarence Thomas merry-go-round.

What an immoral sack of pre-digested bull hockey.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | December 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

cucinellis endorsement of this guy means nothing at this point. if the holdings are so irrelevant, why did cuccinelli feel the need to sell his off as soon as it became public?
if hudson was an honest and upright judge, he would recuse himself. it appears as if he just had to rule on this case, no matter what.

Posted by: MarilynManson | December 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

recuse or impeach, and take over the VA courts if needed

Posted by: ensign83 | December 14, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Once again as we see so many times with Big Money and Republicans -- including their judicial appointees -- the FIX IS IN. The US government and courts are as corrupt and bought out as those in any Banana Republic. The only question is how long is it going to take for the American public to take their heads out of the sand and see that the BigBiz Republican Consortium has their heels on their neck

Posted by: Poleman | December 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This is not an "appearance of impropriety" case. Pure and simple, it is improper for a judge to hear a case in which he has a financial interest. A firm in which he has a financial interest is getting money for lobbying against health reform while he strikes down part of that law. Hudson should vacate his decision so the case can be tranferred to an unbiased judge and the case can be fairly decided.

Posted by: esch | December 14, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

in different article on the judges investment, the numbers given were something like a $30k investment that paid up to $100k dividends last year.

Sounds more like money laundrying to me.

Not only does the Judge need to recuse himself from this case or any other case his "investment" is involved with, the FBI needs to look at his books and the books of Campaign Solutions Inc.

Posted by: MarilynManson | December 14, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The judge that just got impeached by the House didn't have "day to day involvement" with the bail bondsmen that gave him money; he just traded his impartiality for sacks of cash.

Hudson merely cashes Kooky's checks, then gives Kooky his ruling, which causes more donations to the slush fund, which is paid to Hudson. Not day to day; just cashing the checks once a week.

I'd like to know how many investors there are, what the investment was, what the return on the investment is, and what mechanism Hudson uses as a "Chinese wall" in his brain to separate the "judge" from the "investor."

I've had judges offer to recuse themselves on collections cases when they had a checking account with one of my banks that I was representing. Another said "I own $1000 in GM stock; I can't hear your GMAC case." A judge in Prince William remembers who his law partners represented 20 years ago, and always mentions that he could be perceived to have a conflict if he hears a case from the former partner's client list and offers to recuse. All honorable responses to conflicts, real and imagined.

The only thing imagined here is Hudson's ability to judicially discern his impartiality. He is impartial because he says so.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | December 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to the tea-bagger republicans to leave their morality at the door whenever it suits them.
This judge should be impeached for not recusing himself with such an overwhelming conflict of interest, especially since he stands to enrich himself by his own decision.
Hudson is a grade-A number one DIRT BAG!

Posted by: jeffc6578 | December 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to the tea-bagger republicans to leave their morality at the door whenever it suits them.
This judge should be impeached for not recusing himself with such an overwhelming conflict of interest, especially since he stands to enrich himself by his own decision.
Hudson is a grade-A number one DIRT BAG!

Posted by: jeffc6578 | December 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing: Campaign Solutions, Inc., was purged by the Virginia State Corporation Commission in 2004 due to failure to file annual returns. A quick look at the returns section indicates that it was not purged due to transfer, assignment, or merger, and appears to have not paid/filed any state taxes/withholdings ever. Odd for a local "insignificant" company that returns 333% on investments annually.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | December 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

So, let's review....whenever a Judge rules against the GOP, the Judge is a "renegade" that has liberal ties that bias his view. His liberal ties are absolutely nothing BUT HE HAS THEM

When a Judge rules FOR the GOP, the Judge's membership in GOP groups and ties to numerous GOP people? Uh, well, the Judge is still a Judge so we must respect that! Stop invading the Judge's private life!

Got that?

Posted by: Bious | December 14, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

He has no "day-to-day" ties strongly implies that he has some other form of ties. Only a stupid Republican would not see through this guise.

Posted by: localgoober | December 14, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

If a Democrat Judge, who found mandated health insurance purchase constitutional had ties to a Democrat Party fundraiser, but no "day-to-day" ties, would he/she be burned at the stake as well?

Posted by: asmith1 | December 14, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Appointed by the administration that saw nothing wrong in basing DOJ hiring decisions on the job-seeker's political views.

Posted by: hitpoints | December 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

There have been plenty of judges appointed by both parties who have taken great pains to avoid even the possible appearance of impropriety. Some, for example, never voted after their appointment to the bench. We need more judges like that and fewer like Hudson, who doesn't seem to understand that this particular association might call into question the impartiality of his decision in one of the more important cases on which he will rule. Recuse himself? Having failed to do that, he should resign.

Posted by: jlhare1 | December 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

These hysterical, hate-filled comments are both funny and disturbing at the same time.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 14, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Washingtondum: Hypocrisy is sooooo funny. Your point? Well, wear a hat to cover up that point!

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | December 14, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank You Judge Hudson for limiting our rapacious government!

Posted by: wxyz6200 | December 14, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, now that is what we need. A whiff of calumny, denigration, demonization, four-letter words, mingled with spittle laden babblings which includ "Bush," "corruption," "party of No," "Tea Party,"...in short the standard Red-Left sheep bahhhhing tantrum which accompanies any column, any decision, any American who dares disagree with their Socialist "Progressive" agenda.

Get it on Reds...pretty tame stuff so far. Otherwise, you might lose your reputation as bona fide ranters.

Posted by: wjc1va | December 14, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

If the Judge truly was impartial he would have recused himself. Just the fact that his affiliations "could" be perceived as an issue, it was his obligation to step asside. Since he chose not to it is an admission of being partial. This is basic Logic 101. If A=B and B=C then A=C. What does he not get. His ruling should be thrown out irregardless of the merits of his decision. The conservative movement has become psycopathic. The end justifies the mean. Reagan would be ashamed. Buckley would be beside himself. Goldwater would quit the government. My Senator Demintt is having a Party.

Posted by: bradyoung1 | December 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse


asmith1 wrote

"If a Democrat Judge, who found mandated health insurance purchase constitutional had ties to a Democrat Party fundraiser, but no "day-to-day" ties, would he/she be burned at the stake as well?"

Snarky answer: Burned at the stake? Pictures, please!

Serious answer: He/she would probably take a great deal more heat (pun intended). As yet, this story has barely been reported.

Posted by: chaos1 | December 14, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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