December 8, 1988
Topic: Propriety of judge’s soliciting charitable contributions from lawyers.
Digest: A judge may not assist in soliciting charitable contributions from lawyers; the judge may, however, make his own charitable contributions.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)
A town justice asks whether he may assist a local religious charitable federation in soliciting contributions from lawyers and whether he may make a contribution to the organization.
Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator states that:
No judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose...
The section further proscribes a judge from being a speaker or guest of honor at an organization's fundraising event, but permits a judge to “attend such events”.
It is clear from this provision that the judge may not assist the charitable group involved by speaking to lawyers concerning the amounts of their contributions. Section 100.5(b)(2) does not proscribe the judge from making his or her own contributions to the organization or from attending its fundraising events, provided that the judge is neither the honoree nor a speaker at the function.