1994-06: Non-Candidate Judge Contributing to Candidate

Opinion No. 94-6

March 22, 1994

TOPIC: Non-candidate judge contributing to candidate.

DIGEST: A judge may make a campaign contribution to another candidate.

REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67B(1)(a)(iii) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7 (145 Ill.2d R. 67) and definition of "Political Organization" in the TERMINOLOGY section of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Judicial Conduct

FACTS

A sitting associate judge who is not a candidate is inquiring as to whether it is ethical for him or her to make a political contribution to one of his or her fellow associate judges who is running for Circuit judge.

QUESTION

Can a judge who is not a candidate make a political contribution to a fellow associate judge who is running for Circuit judge?

OPINION

Yes. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 67B(1)(a)(iii): "B. Authorized Activities for Judges and Candidates. (1) A judge or candidate may, except as prohibited by law: ...(iii) contribute to a political organization...." The TERMINOLOGY section of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Judicial Conduct states: "'Political Organization' denotes a political party or other group, the principal purpose of which is to further the election or appointment of candidates to political office." Of course, the contribution should not be handed to the candidate but rather given to the finance committee and that clearly fits the definition of a "group, the principal purpose of which is to further the election or appointment of candidates to political office." Therefore, it is ethical for the judge to make such a contribution.