SOLICITATION¾ ADVERTISEMENT BY POLITICAL CANDIDATE¾ An attorney seeking an elective public office may ethically advertise his political candidacy in publications of either general or limited distribution.
The Council of Senior Citizens, a nonprofit corporate organization, is governed by a Board of Trustees and publishes a monthly newspaper to inform its members of matters of special interest to them. One of the Trustees is an attorney and a Judge. He is running for reelection and has an opponent.
1. Is it ethical for the Judge to advertise his candidacy in the Council's paper?
2. Is it ethical for his opponent to so advertise?
3. Is it ethical for the Judge to include in his advertisement in the Council paper the fact that he is a member of the Council's Board of Trustees?
While Canon 24 prohibits any type of advertisement or solicitation of professional employment by an attorney, it is well settled that political advertising by an attorney who is a candidate for public office does not violate Canon 24 so long as the advertising is conducted in a dignified manner and is not designed as a means of seeking professional employment. Drinker, Legal Ethics, page 248; Texas Opinions 103 (September, 1954) and 210 (December, 1960); ABA Opinion 74 (August, 1932), and ABA Informal Decisions 529 (March, 1962), 656 (May, 1963), 707 (December, 1963) and 795 (April, 1965.) Thus, it is clear that both the incumbent Judge and his opponent may ethically advertise their political candidacy in the Council's newspaper. (8-0.)
One member of the Committee feels that it would be improper for the incumbent Judge to include in his advertisement the fact that he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Council since same would be in the nature of self-laudation. Canon 24, however, prohibits self-laudation only as an indirect solicitation of professional employment and since the apparent purpose in this instance would be to solicit votes rather than professional employment, the majority of the Committee is of the opinion that the Judge would not violate Canon 24 by including in his advertisement the fact that he is a Trustee of the Council. (7-1.)
The foregoing opinion is limited to the Canons of Ethics governing the conduct of attorneys and we express no opinion as to any question of judicial ethics.