Opinion 87-27

January 28,1988


Topic:          Propriety of testimonial dinner and solicitation of advertisements for souvenir journal in connection therewith.


Digest:         While there is no prohibition relative to the testimonial dinner, publication of a souvenir journal in connection therewith is impermissible.


Rules:          22NYCRR §100.7[a][1][2]; 22NYCRR § 100.7[B][1][2]; Canon 7.


         Recognizing the need to retire outstanding campaign debts, a fund-raising dinner or testimonial for that purpose is permissible, if held within six months after the November election (22 NYCRR § 100.7[1][2]).

         We conclude, however, that the publication of a Souvenir Journal with advertisements solicited from various businesses is impermissible. In the first instance, fund-raising activities by Judges is not allowed except as provided by Rule. Dinners or other affairs are permitted but innovative fund-raising activities must be measured against the standard of judicial decorum. It would be unrealistic to expect that the judge would be unaware of the names appearing in and contributors to such publication and such disclosure is to be avoided. (Canon 7; McKinney’s Cons. Law Book 29 Judiciary Law, Commentary p 533).


To prevent the appearance of impropriety the names of those who contribute to a candidate’s campaign should be kept secret from the candidate to the extent legally permissible and no candidate or judge should attempt to have any such list made available to him nor seek to learn the identity of those who contributed funds either to him or his opponent. (Ethics Opinion New York State Bar Association No. 289 [1973]) (see also Canon 7[B][1][2].)

         In addition , it is conceivable that one or more subscribers would use such Souvenir Journal to convey the impression that they are in a position to improperly influence you. To avoid an impropriety or appearance thereof we conclude that the solicitation of such ads and Journal publication would be impermissible.

         This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.