Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Ethically-Challenged Bro Lester Pearce Files Exploratory Committee for Supervisor Run

As unsophisticated, marble-mouthed and ham-fisted former state Senate President Russell Pearce is as a politician, his brother, Justice of the Peace Lester Pearce, makes him look like Jack Kennedy by comparison.

You may recall that Judge Pearce was linked to the Tea Party plot to put sham candidate Olivia Cortes on the recall ballot last year, so as to dilute the vote in favor of Senator Pearce.

The plot failed, of course, exposed both by the media and the pro-bono legal efforts of Chandler lawyer Tom Ryan. And Pearce's main rival, current state Senator Jerry Lewis, prevailed.

Now Judge Pearce wants to run for Maricopa County Supervisor in District Two, the seat held by Don Stapley, who has thrown his helmet in the proverbial ring to be the 2012 GOP nominee for the newly formed Ninth Congressional District

See, Judge Pearce recently filed paperwork for an exploratory committee with the county. This for a possible supervisor run.

But Pearce comes with a lot of ethical baggage. As I revealed in a series of blog items during the recall campaign, Pearce actively campaigned for his brother in direct violation of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct, which proscribes judges from working for or endorsing any candidacy save their own.

There is no exception in the code for family members. 

Indeed, the code specifically states that,

"Although members of the families of judges and judicial candidates are free to engage in their own political activity, there is no 'family exception' to the prohibition . . . against a judge or candidate publicly endorsing candidates for public office."

And yet Judge Pearce apparently violated this rule. Not only was he present at various public events in support of his brother as the latter campaigned, he openly stumped for his sibling at an infamous Legislative District 19 meeting of Republicans held on September 15, 2011.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons