March 1, 1990
Digest: Unexpended campaign funds from a prior unsuccessful election campaign cannot be used in a subsequent campaign, whether for the same office or another office.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.7
A judge who unsuccessfully sought election to a higher judicial office last year inquires whether unexpended funds from that prior election effort may be used by the same campaign committee in its renewed, current efforts to achieve the judge’s election to the same higher judicial office.
In Opinion 88-89, this Committee determined that unexpended funds remaining from a judge’s re-election campaign could not be transferred to another committee to aid in the election of the judge to a higher judicial office. Our conclusion was predicated upon the fact that the contributions were given for the candidate’s election to a specific judicial office and not for another office.
Similarly, here, while the office sought is the same, the opposition may be different, and a donor who supported the inquiring judge in the first election may not support him against a different opponent. Moreover, circumstances may have transpired during the intervening period, causing donors to alter their support of the judge in connection with further judicial campaigns. Accordingly, the unexpended funds should be returned to the original donors on a pro-rata basis.