Washington: Senate committee drops mandatory judicial recusal for campaign contributions; requests Commission on Judicial Conduct impose such a rule on judges

A Washington bill to require judges recuse from cases in which they received campaign contributions from a party or attorney has been amended into a request and with a higher contribution limit.

SB 6255 as introduced, first discussed here, would have required the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct discipline judges who did not recuse when they had received $50 in campaign contributions from parties or attorneys.

SB 6255, as amended and approved by Senate Law & Justice Committee last week, makes two major changes. First, the mandate to recuse has turned into a request that the Commission on Judicial Conduct create such a mandatory recusal rule. Second, the requested threshold has been increase from $50 to $1000. The higher threshold is consistent with a proposal being pushed by at least some members of the Washington House.

SB 6255 as amended now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.