January 31, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (11-146) asking whether it is ethically permissible for a [judge] to make a political contribution to a presidential candidate or to a congressional candidate outside of New York State.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provide that neither a sitting judge nor a candidate for public election to judicial office may engage in prohibited political activity, which includes "making a contribution to a political organization or candidate" (22 NYCRR 100.5[A][h]). This prohibition extends to presidential candidates and out-of-state political candidates.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 06-147; 06-50; 96-29 and 98-111 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)