January 30, 1992
Please consult Opinions 05-97, 02-90 and 94-97 and 22 NYCRR 100.0(Q) before relying on this opinion.
Digest: A judge who is a candidate for judicial office may ask individual attorneys to join the judge’s campaign committee.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.7; Canon 7(B)(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct
A judge who is a candidate for judicial office, inquires whether the judge may ask attorneys to join a committee to obtain public statements of support or to campaign and manage the expenditure of funds for the judge’s campaign.
Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states in pertinent part:
No judge during a term of office 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 office. Political activity prohibited by this section includes:
(a) The purchase, directly or indirectly, of tickets to politically sponsored dinners or other affairs, or attendance at such dinners or affairs sponsored by a political organization for a nonpolitical purpose, except as follows:
The exception to this prohibition is set forth in subdivision 100.7(a)(1), which provides in part:
(1) This limitation shall not apply during a period beginning nine months before a primary election, judicial nominating convention, party caucus or other party meeting for nominating a candidate for elective judicial office for which the judge is an announced candidate, or for which a committee or other organization has publicly solicited or supported his or her candidacy....
In addition, Canon 7(B) of the Code of Judicial conduct provides in part:
A candidate, including an incumbent judge, for a judicial office that is filled by public election between competing candidates should not himself solicit or accept campaign funds, or solicit publicly stated support, but he may establish committees of responsible persons to secure and manage the expenditure of funds for his campaign and to obtain public statements of support for his candidacy. Such committees are not prohibited from soliciting campaign contributions and public support from lawyers.
Provided that the candidate will be approaching these persons within the nine-month period described in section 100.7(a)(1), the judge is permitted to approach individual attorneys and request that they serve as members of a committee to help obtain public statements of support or to secure and manage the expenditure of funds for the judge’s campaign. The judge shall not, however, permit the committee to solicit funds for his campaign earlier than nine months before a primary election.