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How we did it

January 24, 2016 at 4:28 a.m.

For these articles, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette analyzed more than 10,600 individual campaign contributions made between 2004 and 2014 to candidates for Arkansas Supreme Court seats.

The newspaper relied on publicly available searchable campaign finance data compiled by a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, The National Institute on Money in State Politics, in Helena, Mont. The nonprofit’s data do not include all political action committees.

The newspaper also reviewed hundreds of pages of candidates’ campaign finance disclosure reports, typed or handwritten, and posted online by the Arkansas secretary of state’s office. The reports covered 19 candidates and 24 Supreme Court campaigns. Eleven of those candidates won seats and served, or are serving, on the state’s highest court.

The newspaper interviewed dozens of lawyers, judges, campaign managers and judicial ethics experts.

Other documents reviewed included:

Court records in about 50 class-action cases in state and federal courts in Arkansas involving Keil & Goodson of Texarkana. Most of those cases involved one or more co-counsels from five other out-of-state firms that worked together on class actions, donated to Arkansas Supreme Court candidates, were the largest campaign givers and consistently donated as a group to the same candidate in any given race.

Articles in Arkansas law school and bar association publications regarding class-action cases.

Key court decisions on class actions.

Law firm websites, people locators and search services to identify firms, the attorneys who work for them and the lawyers’ family members.

This series was reported by Lisa Hammersly with research assistance from Brian Fanney. Sonny Albarado edited the package. Kirk Montgomery produced the graphics.

Print Headline: How we did it


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