How Not to Solicit Campaign Contributions

I’m all for democracy, but election season is not fun for lawyers. This year, unlike any other, I  have been spammed by lawyers running for office:

  • whom I do not know and don’t think I’ve ever met;
  • In counties where I seldom practice; and
  • who delivered a prepared telemarketer-style speech when they get me on the phone.

It’s tricky to deal with someone who is running for DA, Solicitor, or Judge because the person hitting you up for money may one day sit in judgment over your case or act as prosecutor to your client. It is even trickier when support for this candidate will be recorded as a matter of record and available if the person you support loses that bid. Then the competitor will see you as a person who was against her. It all feels strangely akin to a protection racket.

Even worse is the way I’m being pitched this year. And it’s gone down like this. I get a message from my assistant that Mr. Smith with the X County District Attorney’s office would like for me to call him. The person was vague about what the call was about. Or I get that Judge Jones would like for me to give him a call. The person does not have a name that I immediately recognize, and I’m pretty sure that we don’t have a case together. Again, it’s vague. But who wouldn’t call a prosecutor or judge back?  Sometimes DAs or judges call because they are referring a case or because they want to brainstorm a legal issue. So, I call back. In no less than 5 times in the past month, I’ve called the person only to get solicited for a campaign contribution.

I’m chairing one judicial campaign. In that instance, the candidate is someone I believe in and whom I’ve known for a long time. We aren’t spamming people.

So, here’s my statement of policy. If you are running for judge or to be an elected prosecutor and I don’t know you, you need to announce the actual reason for your call when you leave a message for me. If you don’t, then I will assume that you play fast and loose with the truth and are unsuitable for the office you are seeking. I think you are misusing your current office to get me on the phone to create a situation where I donate money to alleviate an awkward social situation that you have created. If you get me on the phone, I’ll just let it be awkward. I’ll exit the conversation quickly, and you won’t hear back from me.

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