September 14, 1993
Digest: A judge may not contribute unexpended campaign funds to a community legal assistance group, but should return those funds to the donors.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.7.
A recently-elected judge inquires whether the judge's campaign committee may donate unexpended campaign funds to a local community legal assistance group. This Committee has consistently advised that unexpended campaign funds be returned to the donors thereof. In Opinion 87-02, (Vol. I) the Committee stated that such funds may not be donated to a charitable organization, since the judge would receive an indirect personal benefit from such a donation. For the same reason, this Committee determined in Opinion 92-29 (Vol. IX) that such funds should not be contributed to a bar association.
That reasoning would apply equally to the present request.