The Dewhurst campaign is higlighting Ted Cruz’s representation of Robert Mericle. From the Texas Tribune:
The U.S. Senate campaign of Ted Cruz is bracing for a new round of political attacks after the candidate revealed on his latest ethics disclosures that he continued to perform civil legal work for a Pennsylvania developer who was at the center of a massive judicial corruption scheme known as the “kids for cash” scandal.
The developer, Robert Mericle, pleaded guiltyin 2009 to felony charges stemming from what prosecutors said were illegal kickbacks paid to two state judges who sent juveniles into his private detention facilities. Mericle became a star witness for prosecutors and is still awaiting sentencing, according to news reports.
Cruz, a highly paid appellate lawyer, did not represent Mericle in any criminal matter. He represented the developer in an appeal of his lawsuit against Travelers Insurance Co., which refused to pay out any money to help settle scores of civil claims arising from the scandal.
“It was civil litigation over breach of contract,” Cruz told The Texas Tribune on Thursday.
The Cruz campaign responded to the story with this statement: “Ted worked on the civil appeal of a breach of contract case between Robert Mericle and a private insurance company. Ted had no personal involvement in Mr. Mericle’s criminal litigation or the class action litigation against him.”
But the Dewhurst campaign is already trying to use the issue to attack Cruz. ”Why was unethical lawyer Ted Cruz willing to accept the maximum fine by the Senate Ethics Committee?,” said Dewhurst adviser Mark Miner in a statement today, referencing the fact that Cruz filed his personal finance statement past the due date. The Cruz campaign said it was an “administrative oversight.”
“Now we find out just why, not only was Ted Cruz hiding that he was still feeding from the trough of Chinese intellectual property thieves, but now he is representing Robert Mericle, a child-exploiting, judge-bribing felon,” Miner continued. “Is there anybody Ted Cruz won’t represent if the price is right? The people of Texas deserve a Senator with better judgment. The ruse is over, Ted. You can’t deceive Texans.”
The Dewhurst attack about the Chinese company represented by the law firm that employs Cruz is nothing new, and the Cruz campaign responds to it here.
Two polls yesterday showed Cruz with a lead of five and eight points respectively over Dewhurst. Considering how aggressively the Dewhurst campaign has pushed the China attacks, it’s likely that they will try to milk the Mericle story as much as possible.
The Dewhurst campaign also released this attack web video on Cruz: