June 7, 1990
Digest: A part-time judge, who also is a bandleader, may provide music at a political fundraiser, provided that the judge charges reasonable and customary compensation for his services.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(h) ; 100.7
A part-time judge, who also had led a band for 25 years, which performs at private parties, inquires whether the band may perform at a political fundraiser for a Supreme Court candidate. The judge and the other musicians will be paid for their performance.
Section 100.5(h) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator permits part-time judges to accept employment which is not incompatible with judicial office. Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator prohibits all political activity by judges, including contributions to and participation in any political campaigns, except in certain limited circumstances.
Here, under the stated facts, the judge and the band may perform at the political fundraiser, provided that the judge, as bandleader, and the other members of the band receive the customary and reasonable compensation for the performance. Otherwise, the performance would constitute a contribution to a political campaign, which is prohibited by the Rules.