September 26, 1984

Opinion No. 84/19
Spouse's political activities

Dear Judge

You inquire whether the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits the wife of a judge from making contributions to the campaign of a state representative or other local office holder. Further, you asked whether it makes a difference if the judge's wife has an independent income, maintains a separate bank account, and makes a contribution from that account.

The members of the Committee are unanimous in their response that the spouse of a judge may make campaign contributions so long as it is done in the name of the spouse and without any reference to the judge or his judicial position.

The prior opinion of this Committee numbered 77-15 states the general rule regarding political activities of the spouse and family of the judge as follows:

Because of the amendment to Canons 2B, 3C(2), 5C(4), 5C(5) and 7B(1)(a) of the Code of Judicial Conduct and commentary following Canon 7 adopted by the Supreme Court on August 3, 1976, a judicial spouse is completely free of any restrictions except that, as the commentary following Canon 7 indicates, "Any political activity engaged in by members of a judge's family should be conducted in the name of the individual family member, entirely independent of the judge and without reference to the judge or to his office."

The Committee wishes to thank you for your inquiry and hopes this response has been of assistance to you.

Sincerely,

Anne C. Booth, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.

Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Linda Yates, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar Journal
Mark Hulsey, Esq., Chairman, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Howard T. Markey, Chairman, Ethics Advisory Panel of the Judicial Conference of the United States .
Jeffrey M. Shaman, Esquire, Director, Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Mr. Brian Polley, Librarian, Supreme Court of Florida

Participating members: Judges Booth, Carlisle, Dell, Green, Hewitt, Letts, Turner, Tedder and Attorney Samuel J. Powers, Jr.