A federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton broke judicial rules to contribute to Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign on multiple occasions.
Utah’s chief federal judge, Tena Campbell, violated the Judicial Code of Conduct and give hundreds of dollars to the Democratic Party nominee, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Federal Election Commission campaign disclosures reveal Campbell described herself as a “lawyer” employed by the government and gave $100 to Obama’s campaign Aug. 28, 2007. She gifted additional funds totaling $300.
The seventh canon of the Judicial Code of Conduct states, “A judge should not … solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate, attend political gatherings, or purchase tickets for political party dinners, or other functions.”
According to the Tribune, Cynthia Gray, an ethics expert with the American Judicature Society, said judges are not supposed to show partisanship.
“Federal judges are supposed to be as apolitical as possible, not to show any sort of indication that they would tip to one side or the other,” she said.
However, citizens shouldn’t expect to see the federal judge face serious consequences for violating the rules, Gray said. The chief circuit court judge may receive a complaint and simply remind Campbell not to violate the code.
President Clinton nominated Campbell in 1995. She became the first female district judge in Utah after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Obama spokeswoman Shannon Gilson told the newspaper the campaign plans to return the money.
“When problems are brought to our attention, we take immediate steps to correct them,” she said.