“If I knew I had received money from somebody on a case, I’d recuse.” — Randy Koschnick, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/24/09
MADISON, Wis. — Jefferson County Circuit Judge Randy Koschnick has heard 1,830 cases involving 19 lawyers who made contributions to his prior judicial campaign, including 35 cases which are currently open.
“Randy Koschnick heard over 1,800 cases from 19 attorneys who previously donated to his campaign,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “He even has 35 open cases, right now, before him from campaign donors.”
According to campaign finance reports, Koschnick received $10,345 in donations from non-family members to his campaign for Jefferson County circuit judge in 1999 and $1,345, or 13 percent, came from 19 attorneys who subsequently have had 1,830 cases before him since.
“Why hasn’t he recused himself on any of these 1,830 cases, if this is his standard?” asked Ross. “However you slice it, he has zero credibility on judicial ethics.”
The contributions were all made in 1999 and there is no indication nor any record of Koschnick ever informing any of the parties in those 1,830 cases that he had received contributions from an attorney involved in the case.
The contributions include one from David Wambach, former District Attorney of Jefferson County. Koschnick received a $50 campaign contribution from Wambach on January 22, 1999. Koschnick went on to hear 1,186 cases in which Wambach was listed as the prosecuting attorney. Ten of these cases remain open.
“If Randy Koschnick’s standard is that he doesn’t take contributions from lawyers with business before his court, he needs to explain how he didn’t think the District Attorney wouldn’t have cases before him,” said Ross. “My guess is Koschnick’s answer will involve some legal-speak and a self-created loophole.”