Annette Ziegler

MADISON -- Wisconsin's Ethics Board has turned up the heat on the state's Judicial Commission over ethics allegations against newly-elected Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler. The Board yesterday wrote the Commission urging it to investigate Ziegler's alleged failure to recuse herself from lawsuits against a bank on which her husband served as director. The letter came after the Board filed a complaint against Ziegler Wednesday stating she had broken the state's ethics code. The Board will charge Ziegler with five violations, each carrying a penalty of $5,000, at a hearing May 17. "A government official shouldn't be acting on a matter that affects a business of which the official or official's spouse is an officer or director," Ethics Board Chaiman Jim Morgan said. The Commission is due to decide whether to launch its own official investigation of Ziegler tomorrow, April 20, LegalNewsLine has reported. Unlike the Ethics Board, the Judicial Commission has the power to reprimand, censure, suspend or remove judges. The Commission is currently investigating 16 allegations against Ziegler brought initially by campaign-finance watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Project (WDP). The WDP estimates that spending on the divisive Supreme Court race between conservative Ziegler and liberal opponent Linda Clifford topped a record-setting $6 million. Ziegler won 58 percent to 42 percent and will take her seat Aug. 1. The Ethics Board complaint against Ziegler will be heard before retired Court of Appeals judge David Deininger at the Dane County Courthouse.

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