Attorney dispute raises questions about ethics oversight

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By RANDAL CHASE
Associated Press

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Superior Court judge has been asked to decide whether the public agency that oversees government ethics and the code of conduct for state officials has jurisdiction over employees of Delaware's court system.

The judge is weighing a decision after hearing arguments this week in a case pitting a Hockessin lawyer against Delaware's Public Integrity Commission.

Attorney Rich Abbott is challenging the commission's ruling last year that it had no jurisdiction to consider a complaint he filed against the head of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, an arm of the Supreme Court that investigates and prosecutes allegations of lawyer misconduct.

Abbott claims that Jennifer Kate-Aaronson violated a prohibition on state employees demonstrating even the "appearance of impropriety" in conducting an investigation against him that he describes as a "fishing expedition."

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