September 24, 1992
NOTE: OVERRULED BY OPINION 06-162
Digest: Unexpended campaign funds from a judicial campaign may be used to purchase office equipment for the judge, which becomes the property of the state court system.
Rules: Canon 7(b)(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
A judge asks whether the judge’s campaign committee may use unexpended campaign contributions to purchase a facsimile machine, a dictating and transcribing machine, a telephone answering machine, and service contracts for the photocopier and computer systems, for use in the judge’s chambers.
In Opinion 91-87, this Committee found that unexpended campaign contributions could be used to purchase word-processing and computer equipment for use in court, as the expenditure would not constitute a private benefit to the judge (citing §14-130 of the Election Law). Similarly, the campaign committee may purchase the office equipment at issue here, as its use is limited to court functions. It is understood that the equipment, upon purchase, becomes the property of the state court system, even though installed in the chambers of the particular judge.