State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 01-07
May a judicial officer be listed on the letterhead of a civic or charitable organization with other members of the board if the judicial officer’s title does not appear and the judicial officer agrees not to be directly engaged in any fundraising activities?
CJC Canon 5(B) provides that judges may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties. Canon 5(B)(2) provides in part that judges should not use the prestige of their office to solicit for contributions for any educational, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization. The comment to Canon 5 specifically addresses the use of organization letterhead for fundraising or membership solicitation. It provides the judge may be listed on the letterhead if it lists only the judge’s name and position in the organization and if comparable designations are listed for other persons. Based on Canon 5(B)(2), a judge may serve on a civic or charitable board and be listed on letterhead which will be used for fundraising or membership solicitation provided: 1) the judge’s name and position in the organization appear without the judicial title; and 2) there is a comparable listing for other persons.
The judicial officer should constantly monitor the activities of the organization to determine the judicial officer’s association remains appropriate and that the organization letterhead is not used solely for fundraising or membership solicitation purposes.
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