State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 96-15
May a judicial candidate continue to list the name and the title of the attorney general on campaign literature as an honorary co-chair?
A judicial officer asked the attorney general who then agreed to serve as one of two honorary co-chairs for the judge’s reelection campaign. The other co-chair is also an elected official.
The co-chairs were asked because in the past persons such as prosecuting attorneys and county executives have served in this capacity in other judicial campaigns. These persons were selected to diffuse any appearance of political affiliation because they are from each of the major political parties.
The honorary co-chairs do not personally assist in solicitation of endorsements or contributions. They do not participate in any of the meetings of the campaign committee or make recommendations or suggestions about campaign scheduling or strategy. Their sole function is to appear on the campaign letterhead as honorary co-chairs.
CJC Canon 7(B)(2) provides in part that judicial candidates may establish committees of responsible persons to secure and manage campaign funds and to obtain public statements of support.
The Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 7(B)(2) does not place any limitations on the persons who a judicial candidate may select to serve as a honorary chair. Therefore, a judicial officer may ask the attorney general to serve as honorary co-chair of a reelection committee and to list the name and the title of the attorney general on campaign letterhead.
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