October 28, 1993
Digest: A judge's clerical staff is not prohibited from attaching campaign stickers to their automobiles or posting campaign signs on their property in conjunction with a Supreme court race.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.3(b)(5)
A Surrogate's Court judge inquires whether it is proper for members of the Surrogate's clerical staff to attach campaign stickers to their automobiles, and to post campaign signs on their property in conjunction with a Supreme Court judicial race.
Section 100.3(b)(5) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that a judge must prohibit members of his of her staff who are the judge's personal appointees from engaging in certain political activities. The prohibited activities include: (1) holding an elective office in a political party; (2) contributing, directly or indirectly, money or other valuable consideration in amounts exceeding $300 per calendar year to any political campaign for any political office; and (3) personally soliciting funds in connection with a partisan political purpose, or personally selling tickets to or promoting a fundraising activity of a political candidate, political party, or partisan political club. However, section 100.3(b)(5) does not prohibit members of the judge's personal staff from being members of a political party (see, Opinion 92-56, Vol. IX), and does not expressly prohibit staff members from placing campaign stickers on their automobiles or posting campaign signs on their property. Accordingly, the judge need not prohibit these activities. Nevertheless, the judge should prohibit his staff from engaging in any political activities in court facilities, or on court time, and should instruct his staff members to make it clear that their political activities have nothing to do with the judge or the court (see, Opinions 91-80, Vol. III, 92-10, Vol. IX).