Madison County Judge Barbra Crowder found herself at the center of a donations controversy late last year, and that incident has inspired a new bill to be introduced in Springfield. Republican State Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon has introduced a bill that would require attorneys to disclose donations made to a judge.
Judge Crowder was assigned to the asbestos docket when it was revealed late last fall that her campaign received $30,000 in donations from lawyers and firms that focused on asbestos cases. She has since returned the donations, and been removed from the asbestos docket. The Madison County Board Chairman has asked the Illinois Judical Inquiry Board to look into contributions, and even one county board member has called for her to resign. Representative Kay says while the donations to Crowder may not have broken any laws, it didn't look good.
Crowder denies any wrongdoing and says she will be vindicated, but returned the donations to show there was no conflict of interest.