When Democrat Phillip Zuckerman ran for the job of Probate Judge in Madison in 2006, he promised to bring greater professionalism to the office. He apparently brought something else to the office as well... an ethics problem.
Zuckerman defeated incumbent Republican Carol Lougee by fewer than 250 votes in part because he was an attorney, and she was not.
Zuckerman apparently spent around $18,000 on his campaign, $10,000 of which was a loan, and sent letters last summer to attorneys across the state asking him to help retire his campaign debt, soliciting as much as $500 from prospective donors. A number of attorneys with business before Judge Zuckerman were solicited with the letter.
Zuckerman is now being investigated by the state probate administrator as two attorneys have come forward to lodge a complaint.
Zuckerman doesn't see the ethical issue here. ""If someone made a contribution it would not influence me in any way, shape or form in any case. It's my way of doing things to be completely fair and objective."
Well, Mr. Zuckerman... we are all greatly assured that it is YOUR way to be fair. However, it is the LAW's way to prevent even the appearance of impropriety that you have now created. Shaking down lawyers who appear in your court for campaign money is disgraceful. If you cannot see that, you are unfit to serve.
Once again, while Democrats in our state legislature pompously wag fingers and promise ethics reform, we see it is Democrats who have the greatest difficulty keeping within the current ethical boundaries.
James Lawlor, the state's probate administrator has said that he will investigate, and all judges should be held to Connecticut's "high ethical standards." Oh sir... I think you'll need to do better than that.