COURT PERSONNEL -- FUND RAISING

Opinion No. 110 (1988)


QUESTION: Is there a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct if the court personnel in a judge's office solicit funds for charitable organizations, churches, or civic projects?

ANSWER: Canon 5B(2) prohibits a judge from engaging in such activities or from using or permitting the use of the prestige of his or her office for such activities.
Canon 3B(2) requires that a judge should require his or her staff and court officials subject to the judge's direction and control to observe the standards of the code of judicial conduct. The purpose of Canon 3B(2) is not to infringe upon the rights or liberties of court personnel but to assist the judge in: (1) upholding the integrity and independence of the judiciary, and (2) to avoid impropriety by the personnel under the judge's direction and control.

The committee perceives no violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct by court personnel engaging in the described activities so long as: (1) the judge's prestige or the prestige of the court is not being used to solicit funds, (2) the solicitation of funds does not interfere or conflict, in any manner, with the official duties of the court or the person doing the solicitation, and (3) there is no impropriety or appearance of impropriety in the manner of solicitation and in being a representative for the organization for which the solicitation is being done.