Tibbetts withdraws from fund-raiser over Supreme Court rule
Margery Tibbetts, a finalist for a Rock County judicial vacancy, withdrew this week as a sponsor of a political fund-raiser after learning her participation was a violation of Supreme Court rules.
Tibbetts, a member of the Brennan law firm in Janesville, said Friday she volunteered last summer to co-host the fund-raiser with Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden and Janesville School Board Commissioner Amy Rashkin before she knew she would be an applicant for the judicial vacancy.
Rock County Judge John Roethe announced in September he would retire effective Dec. 31.
“When I saw the invitations go out this week with my signature as a co-sponsor, I realized there was a problem,” Tibbetts said in a telephone interview Friday. “I immediately sent an e-mail to those involved to let them know I was withdrawing as a sponsor.”
Tibbetts said she also notified the governor's office of her withdrawal as a co-host.
“I called the governor's office and told assistant appointments secretary Patrick Murphy of my actions.”
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 60.06 prohibits judicial candidates, including applicants, from doing any of the following:
-- Being a member of a political party.
-- Participating in activities of a candidate for a partisan office.
-- Soliciting financial contributions in support of a partisan candidate.
-- Publicly endorsing partisan candidates.
In a letter announcing today's fund-raiser, Tibbetts, Spoden and Rashkin “enthusiastically” supported the candidates and asked that financial contributions be placed in an enclosed envelope.
The fund-raiser, scheduled for today from 2 to 4 p.m. at La Esquinita restaurant in downtown Janesville, seeks campaign contributions for the re-election of Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, and Justin Sargent, a staffer for Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit. Sargent is running for the 81st Assembly seat now held by Rep. Dave Travis, D-Waunakee.
Travis announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. The 81st district is made up of the northern third of Dane County.