September 5, 2012
Dear Judge :
This responds to your inquiry (12-112) asking 1) whether you may be a guest of honor or honoree at a small local newspapers’ non-fund raising event and accept the newspaper’s Award in Political Leadership and 2) whether you may assist a not-for-profit entity in organizing a non-fund raising community event honoring successful women.
It is ethically permissible for you be a guest of honor or honoree at the newspaper’s non-fund raising event (see 100.4[C][b][ii]), but you may not accept an award for political leadership as judges are prohibited from engaging in political activities except as permitted by the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct or by law (see 22 NYCRR 100.5[A]). However, you may accept an award that recognizes you as a leader in the community. It appears from the information you provided that this is the purpose of the award. Consequently, if this is correct, you may accept the award if the title of the award is changed to eliminate the word “political.”
The Rules provide that judges may assist in planning fund-raising events as long as they are not directly involved in any fund raising (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i], [iv]). Accordingly, you may assist in organizing a not-for-profit entity’s non-fund raising event.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 11-66 which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)