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January 3, 1994

 

 

The Honorable Harry A. Foltz, Chancellor
Sebastian County Courthouse
615 Parker Street
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72901-2495

RE: JEAC Opinion #93-07 (Adding to JEAC Opinion #93-04)

Judicial Campaign Surplus Funds

Dear Judge Foltz:

This is written in response to your letter addressed to Mr. Badami, dated November 5, 1993, in which you ask our opinion as to whether that portion of Canon 5C(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, adopted July 5, 1993, to-wit:

". . . ANY campaign fund surplus SHALL be returned to the contributor or turned over (sic) the State Treasurer as provided by law." (emp. suppl.); applies to surplus funds accumulated prior to July 5, 1993. You express familiarity with our opinion 93-04, issued August 23, 1993, that interpreted this provision so we see no profit in attaching a copy of it (one will be furnished you at any time upon request), and we will make reference to it only in a general way.

Actually, that opinion answered your inquiry(s), but we now recognize that the portion of it dealing with your question(s) should have been detailed far beyond the rather summary way of that disposition. For this we apologize to you in particular, and to the Judiciary as a whole. Also, your statutory reference A.C.A. ' 7-6-203(j)(3)A was then brought to our attention, along with other references, all of which we considered in reaching that prior result, which we now affirm.

The wording of this provision of the Code clearly applies to any and every, each and all campaign surplus funds, without exception or exclusion, including the time of its accumulation, or variance with legislative acts, or other rule of law. The problem of which may override the other, e.g., legislative enactment or the Canon, is a question of law upon which we may not comment.

We trust that this clarifies opinion 93-04, but if not please contact us.

Yours truly,

 

Bruce T. Bullion

For the Committee

 

ADDENDUM

We concur in the opinion of Judge Bullion, but we offer the following unsolicited advice. If a judge or judicial candidate has a campaign surplus and elects to return it to the contributors, the distribution should be made in a fair and equitable fashion with the candidate or judge having discretion to arrange the details.

Howard W. Brill

Edwin B. Alderson

 

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