State Ethics Board action against Supreme Court Justice-elect Annette Ziegler is a surprise but welcome news to a government watchdog.

It's a first according to Jay Heck with Common Cause Wisconsin. The State Ethics Board filing a complaint against a sitting judge. He says it's an unusual move for the board to act on its own but within its purview.

The Board contends Washington County Judge Annette Ziegler mishandled five cases involving the bank where her husband sits on the board. Ziegler's attorney says the complaint is without merit and will ask for dismissal.

But Heck thinks the whole conflict-of-interest question that dogged her election campaign needs to be cleared-up. Otherwise, he says,  her tenure on the bench will be under a cloud and just about everything she does will likely be questioned.

Justice-elect Ziegler could be fined up 5-thousand for each of the five cases in question. The Judicial Commission is conducting its own investigation into similar complaints.

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:18 MP3 )

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