June 26, 2007
This responds to your inquiry (07-93), in which you ask whether you may serve on the Board of Trustees for the IOLA Fund of the State of New York.
This Committee previously addressed this identical issue in Opinion 91-78, where we concluded that such a role is consistent with §100.4(C) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. We thus found no ethical bar to a judge serving in that capacity. Our Committee did, however, flag a significant legal issue, in that membership on such a board may be in violation of Article 6, section 20 of the New York State Constitution prohibiting judges from “hold[ing] any other public office or trust except an office in relation to the administration of the courts...” Our conclusion as to that ethics issue and the caveat regarding that related legal question apply equally to your inquiry.
We enclose a copy of Opinion 91-78 for your convenience.