LITTLE ROCK — A watchdog group issued what it called a cease-and-desist letter Wednesday to a group it said has been publicizing false and misleading information about a candidate for a position on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

LITTLE ROCK — A watchdog group issued what it called a cease-and-desist letter Wednesday to a group it said has been publicizing false and misleading information about a candidate for a position on the Arkansas Supreme Court.


The Rapid Response Team of the Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee issued the letter to the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative, which has been distributing flyers and airing television ads critical of Little Rock lawyer Clark Mason.


Mason is running against Circuit Judge Shawn Womack of Mountain Home for the Supreme Court seat now held by retiring Justice Paul Danielson. The race will be decided in Tuesday’s non-partisan judicial election.


The Rapid Response Team said in its letter it privately notified the Judicial Fairness Initiative on Feb. 20 about false and misleading information in a flyer it has been distributing, but the group did not respond, so the team was going public with a cease-and-desist letter.


"The Rapid Response Team issues this letter officially requesting, on behalf of the citizens of Arkansas, that you cease publishing information that you know to be false and misleading," the letter states.


The flyer the watchdog group objects to states that Mason "admits his support for Obama’s executive actions that kill Arkansas jobs while making trial lawyers rich."


As factual support for the statement, the flyer gives the web address of a page on the website of Mason’s law office that bears no relation to the statement in the flyer, the Rapid Response Team said.


Republican State Leadership Committee spokeswoman Ellie Wallace said in a statement Wednesday, "Instead of encouraging conversation on the records of Supreme Court candidates, liberal trial lawyer Clark Mason has this Democrat-led outside group helping him do just the opposite. The facts are the facts: Clark Mason’s own website praised President Obama’s executive order that was bad for Arkansas jobs and good for Arkansas trial lawyers."


Wallace said the web address listed on the flyer was for a blog post that formerly appeared on Mason’s website but has been taken down. She provided an archived copy of the post, which states that a new executive order "prohibits companies that pursue government contracts from requiring their workers to agree upfront to mandatory arbitration. Hopefully this will be the first step in restoring the right to trial by jury for millions of Americans."


Wallace also said that according to the committee’s research, nearly all of the political contributions made by the members of the Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee have gone to Democrats.


Journalist Roy Ockert, a member of the Rapid Response Team, said in a statement Wednesday:


"Instead of responding to a complaint duly filed with the Rapid Response Team, the Republican State Leadership Committee has chosen to attack the Arkansas Judicial Campaign & Education Committee and the team itself. An appropriate response would have been to simply remove the offensive allegation, which the team found made no sense and was therefore false and misleading.


"The Rapid Response Team is a group of five volunteers who have been acting independently of the Judicial Campaign & Education Committee. We have taken great pains to establish a fair process and then to carry it out. We went to considerable lengths to try to reach the Republican State Leadership Committee and give it a chance to respond to the complaint.


"As for the allegations about the committee and team members being Democratic donors, I can only speak for myself. I have never contributed to any political campaign except through the IRS. I don’t know about the other team members but fail to understand why that would be a issue if they had. Judicial elections in Arkansas are nonpartisan, and this Republican group is obviously trying to make them otherwise."


Mason said Wednesday that "all these people know how to do is attack others who do not agree with them. Now, in addition to attacking me, they launch an attack and slander the Arkansas Judicial Campaign Conduct & Education Committee."


"Their attacks are false, baseless and misleading," he said. "These people are from Washington, D.C., and think they can bully us in Arkansas and buy a seat on our court. We won’t stand for it. Our Supreme Court is not for sale."


Spending in Arkansas’ two Supreme Court races has exceeded $1 million, according to Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.