December 14, 1995
Digest: There is no ethical bar which prohibits the spouse of a part-time judge from contributing funds to candidates for political office, from the spouse's separate funds.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(b)( 5 )(ii); 100.7; Opinion 90-88, Vol. VI
A part-time judge who has made no contributions to nor endorsed any candidates since election to the bench, asks whether his/her spouse is prohibited from contributing to a candidate's election campaign by reason of the judge's position.
We find no ethical bar which prohibits the spouse of a part-time judge from contributing funds to candidates for political office. Such contributions should be from the spouse's separate funds.
While the judge is prohibited from contributing "... to any political party or political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office" (Rules of the Chief Administrator, §100.7) there is nothing in the Rules which proscribes such involvement by a judge's spouse.
In response to a prior request by a full-time judge, and pertinent here, we held that "... the judge's spouse ... may contribute funds to other political candidates." Opinion 90-88, Vol. VI.