Urbin Report

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A conflict of interest

From today's Washington Times Inside Politics column:

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who last week ruled that the government's warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional, serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case, ACLU et al. v. National Security Agency.
The independent government watchdog Judicial Watch said it discovered the potential conflict of interest after reviewing Judge Diggs Taylor's financial-disclosure statements, available on Judicial Watch's Web site, www.judicialwatch.org.
According to her 2003 and 2004 financial-disclosure statements, Judge Diggs Taylor served as secretary and trustee for the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan (CFSEM). She was re-elected to that position in June. The official CFSEM Web site states that the foundation made a "recent grant" of $45,000 over two years to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the wiretapping case. Judge Diggs Taylor, a 1979 appointee of President Carter, sided with the ACLU of Michigan in her recent decision.
According to the CFSEM Web site, "The Foundation's trustees make all funding decisions at meetings held on a quarterly basis."
"This potential conflict of interest merits serious investigation," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.