September 12, 1991
Digest: A judicial candidate may reimburse a campaign committee, representing a slate of candidates, for his or her proportionate share of the costs. A judicial candidate may appear in public and may campaign door-to-door with other candidates on the same slate, and may purchase tickets to and attend political fundraising events given by other candidates, but should not comment on the qualification of or endorse other candidates and should not hand out the literature of other candidates, except joint literature of a slate of which the judge is a member, nor carry an independent line petition of other candidates, where the judge is not on the petition. Political activities of individual members of the judge's committee are not proscribed by the Rules of Judicial Conduct.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.7(a)(1) and (2), (b) and (c); Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
A candidate for judicial office, who is not a judge, asks whether it is permissible to engage in the following political campaign activities:
1) contribute to the campaign fund for the slate of candidates, of which the judge is a member, to cover the cost of campaign literature and other services provided by the campaign to the judge;
2 ) hand out the literature of other candidates;
3) campaign door-to-door, appear in public and at public or private events with other candidates;
4) comment on the qualifications of other candidates;
5) appear at fundraising events given by other candidates and make a contribution to cover the cost of such events; and
6)for members of the judicial candidate's committee to carry the independent line petitions of other candidates.
Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct applies to all candidates for judicial office, whether the candidates are judges or not. (Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, Opinion 87-24, Vol. 1), and establishes the same guidelines for all judicial candidates during the political campaign. The permissible campaign activities of a judge are set forth in sections 100.7(a)(1) and (2); (b), and (c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator.
The judicial candidate may reimburse the joint campaign committee for the judicial candidate's proportionate share of the cost of providing campaign services. Contributions exceeding this proportionate share are prohibited by section 100.7(b).
A judicial candidate may campaign door-to-door with other candidates on the same slate, but should not endorse or comment on the qualifications of the other candidates. The judicial candidate may not hand out literature of other candidates except joint literature on which the judicial candidate appears.
Section 100.7(a)(2) allows a judicial candidate to attend politically sponsored dinners or events that are held in support of the slate of candidates and to appear in photos on political literature with other members of the slate of which the judicial candidate is a part. (See also, Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, Opinions 89-125, Vol. IV, 90-166, Vol. V1.) During the campaign period, section 100.7(a)(2) expressly permits judicial candidates to attend fundraising dinners on behalf of the judicial candidate's own candidacy and politically sponsored dinners in support of a slate of candidates, provided that the judge is a part of the slate of candidates. Section 100.7(a)(2)(ii) permits the judge to purchase tickets to any political dinner without limiting such purchase to either the candidate's own dinner or to a dinner on behalf of a slate of candidates of which he is part. In Opinion 88-87, Vol. 11 the Committee stated a candidate may buy tickets and attend the dinner of another political candidate during the candidacy period. (See also, Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinion 88-72, Vol. II.)
The judicial candidate may not carry independent line petitions of other candidates where the judicial candidate is not on these petitions himself or herself.
Neither the Canons of Judicial Ethics nor the Rules of the Chief Administrator, however, proscribe the activities of individual members of the judicial candidate's campaign committee.