The American Bar Association has passed a controversial amendment to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct that aims to prevent lawyers from making contributions to judicial campaigns in exchange for government legal engagements or appointments. Members of the ABA House of Delegates adopted the so-called “pay to play” rule — Model Rule 7.6 — by a vote of 266 to 157 at the association’s midyear meeting in Dallas.

Supporters of the measure, which passed Feb. 14, say the new rule will prevent the appearance of impropriety among lawyers and judges on an issue that has received the unfavorable attention of both the national press and the Securities and Exchange Commission.