Accepting unsolicited donation on behalf of children's education from memorial fund in memory of deceased husband.

May 25, 1999

Opinion 99-1   

Dear:

This is in response to your letter of March 30, 1999 requesting advice from the Committee. You are an Assistant Clerk at the Court. Your husband, who died earlier this year, was "active in politics" in your town and statewide. He was employed in the Executive Branch. A friend of your husband started a memorial fund in his memory for the benefit of your two young children. You had no knowledge of this fund until after letters seeking donations had already gone out. The fund has generated monies which you intend to put in trust for your children's education. You inquire whether this is permissible under the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts.

In the view of the Committee, there is no violation of the Code in your accepting the donation. It is the members' opinion that the Canons of the Code would not be implicated by your accepting donations on behalf of your children which you did not solicit. Should any donors to the memorial fund known to you come before you in your capacity as Clerk-Magistrate, we suggest that you look to the provisions of Canon 4(E) on Disqualification.