January 28, 1993
Digest: A judge's campaign committee may use unexpended campaign contributions to purchase judicial robes, computer equipment for court use, and a telephone answering machine for use in chambers.
Rules: Election Law §14-130, Canon 7(b)(2) Code of Judicial Conduct, ACJE Op. 92-104, and 91-87.
A newly-elected full-time judge asks whether unexpended campaign contributions ethically may be used to purchase judicial robes, computer equipment, and a telephone answering machine for use in court and chambers.
In Opinions 92-104 and 91-87 this Committee answered similar questions with respect to the proposed purchases of a facsimile machine, a dictating and transcribing machine, computer equipment, a telephone answering machine, and service contracts for these items for exclusive use in a judge's chambers. It was and remains our opinion that such acquisitions are permissible under Election Law §14-130 and the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7(b)(2), because they relate to "holding of public office" and they are not and do not appear as expenditures for the judge's "private benefit."
It is this Committee's opinion that the same reasoning would permit a newly elected judge to use unexpended campaign donations tor the purchase of his or her judicial robes.