Rather than go through a court hearing, Ziegler settled with the State Ethics Board, not contesting charges she violated conflict-of interest laws as a judge and agreeing to pay a five thousand dollar fine.

Government watchdog Jay Heck of Common Cause says it's the largest individual ethics fine in fourteen years.

Ziegler was accused of failing to recuse herself from cases she handled as a Washington County judge that involved the bank where her husband served as a paid board member.

Heck points out the Ethics Board did say the justice-elect did not personally gain from any of the cases in question and that may be considered by the Judicial Commission in its investigation.

While the worst case scenario is suspension or removal from the bench, Heck says no one expects that to happen but there could be some hefty fines. Ironically it could be Ziegler's colleagues on the Supreme Court who will decide her fate.

But Heck says there's a perception problem for Wisconsin. This kind of case would have been unacceptable in state government twenty years ago. Now, he says, it's considered the norm.

AUDIO: Jim Dick reports ( 1:03 MP3 )

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