April 24, 2008
Digest: A candidate for election to judicial office who finances his/her entire campaign with personal funds and neither solicits nor accepts any campaign contributions from any source is not ethically required to form a campaign committee.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(h); 100.5(A)(2); 100.5(A)(2)(i); 100.5(A)(5); Opinions 07-135.
A judge who is a candidate for re-election plans to finance his/her attendance at political functions throughout his/her window period with personal funds only and does not intend to solicit or accept any campaign contributions. The judge asks whether, under these circumstances, he/she is required to establish a campaign committee.
A candidate for judicial office may contribute to his/her own campaign as permitted under the election law (see 22 NYCRR 100.5[A]), but is prohibited from personally soliciting or accepting any campaign contributions (see 22 NYCRR 100.5[A][h]; 100.5[A][i]). Rather, if a candidate intends to raise funds for his/her campaign, he/she must form a committee of responsible persons to solicit and/or accept any potential campaign contributions on the candidate’s behalf (see 100.5[A]; Opinion 07-135). In the Committee’s view, therefore, if a judicial candidate intends to, and does in fact, finance his/her entire campaign with personal funds and neither solicits nor accepts any campaign contributions from any other source, the candidate is not ethically required to form a campaign committee.
The Committee notes that a self-funded campaign remains subject to all requirements of the Election Law, including contribution limits and reporting requirements.