2008-05 (September 17, 2008)
Family; Financial Disclosure; Gifts; Ordinary Social Hospitality; Canons 2, 5 &
May a Judicial Official be a guest of the Judicial Official’s spouse’s
client at an expensive charity event?
Based upon the facts presented, the Committee unanimously agreed that the
Code did not prohibit a Judicial Official and his/her spouse being guests of the
spouse’s client at a charity event that costs $1,000 per-person provided that
neither the client nor his businesses have matters before the court and the gift
is reported in the same manner as compensation in accordance with Canon
5(c)(4)(C). The Committee noted
that if a political candidate is a speaker at this nonpolitical event, it would
raise questions under Canon 2 (a). The Committee believed that this was a close
issue but that attendance by the Judicial Official, even if a political
candidate was speaking at the event, would not violate the Code. It was noted
that even if it was a political event, the Judicial Official’s spouse could
accept the gift.