June 7, 1988


Opinion 88/13

Use of campaign funds for personal purposes
Canon 7B(2) and F.S. §106.1405

Re: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Your inquiry dated April 28, 1998

Dear Mr.:

In your April 28 communication you asked whether you may use funds acquired in connection with your candidacy for a county court judgeship for the following purposes.

1. Can I pay myself a salary out of the campaign funds on deposit in the campaign account?

2. Can I pay normal living expenses other that expenses actually incurred for transportation, meals, lodging for myself and my family out of the campaign funds on deposit in the campaign account?

3. Can I pay expenses actually incurred for transportation, meals and lodging for myself and members of my family during travel in the course of the campaign?

The Committee has determined that each of your questions must be answered in the negative.

Recognizing that section 106.1405, Florida Statutes, does not differentiate between judicial and non-judicial candidates, it is the Committee's view that the statutory grant must be subordinated to Canon 7B(2).

The unambiguous prohibition expressed in the Canon imposes upon a judicial candidate, no differently form a judge in service, a standard insuring that ultimate judicial performance is free from any suggestion of taint stemming from financial benefit.

The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So2d 5 (Fla. 1976).

Cordially yours,

Richard H. Frank, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Booth, Dell, Frank, Goldstein, Green, Levy, Shutter, Tolton and Attorney Page

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
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, 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