Even if you have a great mentor, you can get bad advice. A judge of the New York Surrogate’s Court was censured for failing to properly report a campaign contribution from her long-time friend and mentor.

During her race to become judge, the then-attorney’s campaign was low on funds. Her friend and mentor advised her “that the Election Law permitted a candidate to receive money as a personal gift or loan, which the candidate could then convey to the campaign as a contribution or loan in his/her own name.” Her mentor never checked this with the campaign’s election law consultant, nor did the candidate. The mentor then proceeded to loan and gift the candidate a total of $250,000, which the candidate contributed to her own campaign.

According to the Legal Profession Blog “[t]he Commission on Judicial Conduct noted that the judge was an inexperienced judicial candidate who had relied on the bad advice of her friend and mentor, who was the campaign contributor.”

The lesson I drew from this case, besides “don’t launder money,” is that nobody is right all of the time. Just because advice is coming from someone you respect, doesn’t mean it’s true or ethical. If it smells fishy, second-guess and question what you’re told. (h/t Legal Profession Blog)

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