State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 06-07
May a judicial officer acting as an individual and not identifying himself or herself as a judicial officer solicit pledges from family and friends who would have no occasion to appear before the judicial officer? Would it be permissible for a third party to solicit donations or pledges on behalf of the judicial officer?
A judicial officer would like to join the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in training for the upcoming Seattle to Portland bicycle ride. Participation carries with it a requirement that each entrant meet a minimum financial contribution through donations and pledges.
CJC Canon 5(B)(2) provides that judges should not use of the prestige of their office to solicit for any charitable organization. The question asked in this opinion does not fall under this restriction because the judge is not using the prestige of the office to solicit for a charitable organization. The solicitation will be directed only to friends and family members. The motivation for friends and family members to contribute to the judicial officer is personal in nature and not related to the prestige of the judicial office and therefore, is permitted. Even though the judicial officer may solicit from friends and family members the judicial officer should not be identified as such on the roster of participants or in any other way having to do with the judicial officer’s activities with the bicycle ride or the charitable organization.
This opinion should be narrowly read to apply to the facts as presented in this opinion; that is, limited solicitation directed solely at friends and family members who would never appear before the judicial officer. This opinion is not intended to affect or modify previous opinions prohibiting the use of the prestige of judicial office to solicit for any charitable organization.
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