OPINION 145
March 1957

SOLICITATION -- ENDORSEMENT OF CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE -- An attorney may mail his endorsement of candidates for public office to persons unknown to him and indicate his name and address as well as that he is an attorney at law.  However, to use anything more than his name, address and his designation as an attorney would be improper.

Canons 24, 39A.B.A. Canons 27, 43.

Questions

1.  May an attorney send through the mails to persons unknown personally to him a postal card endorsing a certain candidate for a state office upon which card he has printed, but rubber stamp, at the usual place for signature the following:

John W. Doe, Attorney at Law

222 Blank Building

222 Blank Street

Blank, Texas ?

2.  Would it make any difference if the addressees of such cards were all personal friends and clients of said attorney?

Opinion

This is a close question.  A bare majority of the members of the committee are of the opinion that there is no violation of any Canon of Ethics under the above facts, regardless of whether such cards were sent to friends and clients or to strangers, although recognizing that sending same to strangers is a closer case.  They felt that there would be substantially no difference between sending such a card and writing such a message on one's stationery.  They pointed out that to hold such act a violation would tend to discourage attorneys in their public duty to endorse and support good men for public office, particularly for the judiciary.  They did not feel that normally any solicitation or advertising would be intended or construed.

However, the use of anything more than the name and address of the attorney and his designation as an attorney would be condemned by all of the members.  Also, undue and widespread solicitation of support for a candidate where the real purpose was to bring the name of the attorney before the public and not primarily to secure support for the candidate was also condemned by all members, but in such case the majority would give the attorney the benefit of the doubt and require a clear showing of wrong intent.  (5-4)