Supreme Court candidate Annette Ziegler keeps stepping in it, as the count of her undisclosed conflicts of interest continues to mount. [UPDATE: 164 more cases.]
With her candidacy foundering, her sugar daddies at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce have come to her rescue with a big TV buy that starts on Friday. WisPolitics.com estimates WMC's buy at $400,000.
A Washington County circuit judge, Ziegler handled 46 cases involving a West Bend where her husband serves on the board of directors, without ever disclosing that, as required by Supreme Court rules. She ruled in the bank's favor more than 90% of the time. Two of the losers in those cases say they are going to file complaints with the Judicial Commission.
Wednesday, it was revealed that the Zieglers have received more than $3-million in loans from that same bank. Maybe she needed it to invest in her campaign, and didn't want to sell any of her stock holdings, which are worth at least $2.4-million and perhaps twice that much, according to her ethics report.
Her response on the bank cases has been to say that she follows her gut instinct, not the rules, in deciding what's a conflict and what's not. Yesterday, she told a Madison TV station she would like to "improve the rules" on judicial conflicts of interest -- quite a leap for someone who doesn't even follow the existing rules. Here's the link, with some video.
For Daddy Warbucks, the WMC, to show up with bundles of cash for Ziegler is not unexpected. The group, which doesn't disclose where it gets the money for its issue advertising campaigns, is flush with victory after spending $2.5-million to elect Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen, and may spend as much to try to put Ziegler on the high court.
What WMC wants, of course, is a justice who will jump, roll over, or play dead when big business gives the signal. With Ziegler, it looks like a match made in heaven.