In New Canon 5, Effective January 1, 1995, To
Candidates In The 1994 General Election

Opinion No. 176 (1995)

QUESTION: May a judge or judicial candidate in the 1994 general election solicit and accept contributions later than 120 days after the general election?

ANSWER: Yes. On January 1, 1995, a new version of Canon 5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct takes effect that imposes time limits on fundraising by judges and judicial candidates. The relevant parts provide:

(4) In addition to any other restrictions imposed by law a judge or judicial candidate shall not either personally or through others solicit or accept contributions:

(i) earlier than 210 days before the filing deadline for the office sought by the judge or

(ii) later than 120 days after the general election in which the judge or judicial candidate seeks office.

(5) The requirements of (4) above shall not apply to political contributions solicited or accepted solely for one or more of the purposes sent forth in Tex. Elec. Code Sec. 253.035(i).

The question is whether section (4) applies to the 1994 election, so that the 120 days begins to run on November 9, 1994, the day after the general election. The Committee concludes that it does not.

*All Canon references are to the Code of Judicial Conduct effective March 1, 1994.
The Supreme Court adopted the order establishing the new Canon 5 on September 21, 1994, but did not make it effective until January 1, 1995. The Committee concludes that if the Supreme Court intended for the new limitation to apply to judges and candidates in the 1994 election, it would have made the new Canon 5 effective on or before November 9, 1994. Because it did not do so, we conclude that the new Canon 5 imposes no limitations on fundraising by judges and judicial candidates in the 1994 general election.