November 19, 1992
Digest: A judge may not make a contribution to help a former political candidate eliminate a campaign deficit.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.7 and 100.2(a).
A full-time judge has asked whether it is ethically permissible to make a contribution to a former candidate for political office who was defeated in an election primary. The contribution would help the former candidate erase a campaign deficit.
The judge may not make a contribution to help offset the former candidate's debt. Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that "[n]o judge during a term of officer shall hold any office in a political party or organization or contribute to any political party or political campaign or take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office."
Since the former candidate's debt arises from his campaign for political office, a contribution to help offset that debt would be an impermissible political contribution, and would create an appearance of impropriety [22 NYCRR 100.2(a)].