March 11, 2004
Digest: A trial judge may allow a typist who is employed in an appellate court, to serve as treasurer of the judge’s campaign committee.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 50.5; 100.5(A)(4); 100.5(A)(4)(b); 100.5(C); 100.6; Opinion 00-05 (Vol. XVIII).
A full-time trial judge who is a candidate for a higher judicial office inquires if a typing pool secretary from an appellate court may serve as treasurer of the judge’s upcoming campaign. The judge states that none of the typist’s activities as treasurer will interfere with the typist’s court system responsibilities.
There are several rules that limit political activities of court employees. Some rules are directed at quasi-judicial employees, 22 NYCRR 100.6; or personal appointees of judges 100.5(C); or persons who serve at the pleasure of the candidate 100.5(A)(4). Other rules limit the political activity of all Unified Court System non-judicial employees. 22 NYCRR 50.5.
This Committee has previously opined that a judge’s court attorney, who was the judge’s personal appointee, should not serve as treasurer of the judge’s re-election committee. Opinion 00-05 (Vol. XVIII). For that determination, the Committee relied on the fact that the court attorney was a person who serves at the pleasure of the judge and therefore is prohibited from doing what the candidate could not. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(4)(b).
That is not the situation here. In light of the fact that this employee, as a typist in a different court from the inquiring judge, is not a quasi-judicial official, is not a personal appointee of this judge, and is not a person who serves at the pleasure of this judge, only those limitations detailed in section 50.5 of the Rules of the Chief Judge (Prohibitions Against Certain Political Activities) appear to govern in this circumstance. 22 NYCRR 50.5. Since there appears to be no language therein prohibiting an employee in one court from serving as a treasurer of a campaign for a judge in another court, it would not be improper for the typist to serve as treasurer of the judge’s campaign. Therefore, the judge may allow the typist to serve as treasurer of the campaign committee.