RAISING MONEY FOR TEXAS ASSOCIATION
OF DISTRICT JUDGES

Opinion No. 201 (1996)


QUESTION 1: May a committee of the Texas Association of District Judges send a letter to the members of the association or those eligible for membership in the association soliciting $100.00? The funds would be spent to hire a lobbyist to assist the efforts of the association before the Legislature.

QUESTION 2: May a committee of the Texas Association of District Judges send a letter explaining the aims of various groups that are forming to raise money to assist the judiciary in explaining their desires to the Legislature?

QUESTION 3: May a committee of the Texas Association of District Judges send a letter accompanying correspondence from another group formed to raise money to assist the judiciary in explaining their desires to the Legislature?

ANSWER 1: Yes. Canon 4C(2) prohibits a judge from soliciting funds for any "education, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization." It is the opinion of the Committee that the Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit such activity so long as the letter is restricted to members of the Texas Association of District Judges or those eligible for membership in the association.

ANSWER 2: No. Such implicit recognition of the "various groups" would "lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests" of the groups, in violation of Canon 2B.

ANSWER 3: No. Given the resolution to Question No. 2, any letter accompanying the correspondence of another group would violate both the letter and spirit of the Code of Judicial Conduct.