October 13, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-124) asking whether it is ethically permissible to be the announced speaker for the annual tea party of a certain chapter of a not-for-profit charitable entity. You indicate that the tea party includes an advertised raffle/auction in an adjacent room. You further ask whether removing any reference to the raffle/auction from the invitation would eliminate any ethical concerns.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from being a speaker or guest of honor at an organization’s fund-raising event, although the judge may attend the event (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][ii]). As there will be fund-raising activities taking place during the event, you should not be the guest speaker. Removing any reference to the raffle/auction from the invitation will not change the fund-raising aspect of the event.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-17 and 15-154 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court