State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 03-04
May a judicial officer be reimbursed transportation and lodging costs for speaking at a specialized bar association annual convention?
The judicial officer has been asked to be a speaker at a specialized bar association’s annual convention which is scheduled to be held in a neighboring state. The specialized bar association has offered to pay for the judicial officer’s room and flight costs.
CJC Canon 4(A) provides that judges may engage in quasi-judicial activities if in doing so they do not cast doubt upon their capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before them. Canon 6 provides that judges may receive reimbursement of expenses for quasi-judicial activities if the source of the payment does not give the appearance of influencing the judges in their judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety. Canon 6(B) provides that expense reimbursement should be limited to the actual cost of travel, food and lodging incurred by the judge. Additionally, judges are required to report expense reimbursement as provided by the Public Disclosure Commission (Canon 6(C)).
Also see Opinion 91-27.
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