State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 91-16
May the spouse of a judicial officer contract with a government agency to perform personal services?
The Code of Judicial Conduct does not apply to the spouses of judicial officers.
If however, the judicial officer is a member of the court having supervisory responsibility or substantial influence over the contracting agency, the appearance of impropriety exists. The judicial officer must then take all possible precautions to reduce such appearance. At a minimum, the judicial officer should not participate in the bidding or contracting process.
The judicial officer should realize that in many cases the appearance of impropriety cannot be effectively reduced regardless of the precautions taken. In those cases, the judicial officer should discourage the spouse from bidding with the agency in question.
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