Judge Cleared Of Misconduct Over Wife’s Menendez Defense Fund Donation

Judge Cleared Of Misconduct

Chief Judge Margaret Bartley dismissed a misconduct complaint against U.S. Appeals Court Judge William Greenberg.

Fix the Court filed the complaint, questioning a $10,000 donation to Senator Robert Menendez’s legal defense fund by Greenberg’s wife, Betty.

Fix the Court argued that the donation violated judicial ethics, given Greenberg’s nomination to the bench by President Barack Obama at Menendez’s recommendation. However, Bartley found no breach.

The inquiry revealed that Betty Greenberg made the donation from her personal checking account, over which she had sole control.

Although she discussed her intention to donate with her husband, Judge Greenberg did not participate in the contribution and advised her it had to be from her own funds.

Bartley clarified that while judges are prohibited from making political contributions, their spouses are not bound by the same restrictions.

She emphasized that Judge Greenberg fulfilled his ethical duty by disassociating himself from his wife’s political activities.

Code for judges

The Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges mandates judges to refrain from financial contributions to political entities.

However, Bartley underscored that it does not extend to their spouses. She stated that the inquiry confirmed Judge Greenberg’s adherence to this ethical responsibility.

Dismissal was warranted, Bartley wrote, as there was no evidence to support the speculative claim that the donation stemmed from shared funds or with the judge’s approval.

Neither Judge Greenberg nor representatives for Senator Menendez responded to requests for comment.

Gabe Roth, Executive Director of Fix the Court, acknowledged the seriousness with which his complaint was considered.

He confirmed that Judge Greenberg had no involvement in the donation. However, Roth raised lingering concerns about the perception created by the donation.

Roth highlighted the potential conflict of interest, given Judge Greenberg’s judicial appointment through Senator Menendez’s recommendation.

He urged Senator Menendez to return the donation to alleviate any perceived impropriety.

In summary, Chief Judge Bartley’s decision dismissed the complaint against Judge Greenberg, affirming that his wife’s donation to Senator Menendez’s legal defense fund did not violate judicial ethics.

Despite this, concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest persist, emphasizing the importance of maintaining public trust in the judiciary.