A government watchdog is asking the state Judicial Commission to investigate Justice Michael Gableman for reportedly getting free legal services from a law firm that defended him against an earlier ethics complaint.
Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed a formal request to look into a violation of ethics codes. “He received tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of free legal services and some observers have said that it might have even gone over $100,000 worth of free legal representation.”
The judicial ethics code says judges cannot accept gifts from anyone who is likely to appear before them, and the law firm of Michael Best and Friedrich reportedly has five cases before the high court that Gableman is taking part in. The firm last week told the justices about its arrangement with Gableman.
McCabe says this issue goes further than just an ethics code violation. “He really took reckless actions that call into question the integrity and the impartiality of the entire Supreme Court.”
McCabe says he’s also considering filing a complaint with the Government Accountability Board. It has a separate policy against public officials and judges taking anything of value relating to their job. The Judicial Commission could ask the Supreme Court to consider punishing its fellow justice if it finds wrongdoing.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:35