January 25, 2007
Digest: A judge who is currently a candidate for judicial office may not be the speaker or guest of honor at a fund-raising event sponsored by a political organization, but he/she may attend the event, be introduced as a judicial candidate, and briefly acknowledge the introduction.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.0(Q); 100.5(A); 100.5(A)(1)(d); 100.5(A)(2)(i) and (iii); 100.5(A)(2)(v); Opinion 01-27.
A judge who is running for election to judicial office and who is within the Window Period for that election, has been asked to attend and to be honored at a fund-raising event sponsored by a political party. The judge inquires as to whether he/she may attend and, if so, whether he/she may speak at the event.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow judge and non-judge candidates for judicial office to attend and speak to political gatherings on their own behalf and to otherwise appear with other candidates who make up their slate, during the appropriate Window Period. 22 NYCRR 100.0(Q); 100.5(A)(2)(i) and (iii). The Rules specifically allow judicial candidates to purchase two tickets to, and attend, fund-raising events sponsored by political organizations during the Window Period. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(2)(v). The judge may not, however, attend such events as a speaker or guest of honor. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(d); Opinion 01-27.
Although the judge may not be a speaker or guest of honor at this event, the Committee sees no ethics violation if the judge were to provide a “few words of acknowledgment” when he/she is introduced as a candidate for judicial office. During this brief acknowledgment, as at all times, the judge should be aware of the prohibition against soliciting funds for any political entity or any campaign for political office, including his/her own, and against participating in any other fund-raising activity. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A).