January 24, 1991
Digest: Judges should not attend a post-election political party fundraiser, where the judges’ names are the only names on the fundraiser invitation, and where the invitations were mailed without prior knowledge or consent of the judges, and where the format may suggest that the judges are soliciting funds.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.2; 100.7.
Several judges inquire whether they may attend a post-election fundraiser held by a political party in honor of the judges’ elections. The invitations for the fundraiser list only the judges’ names and make no mention of the use of the proceeds from the event. The judges were not advised of the use of their names and, accordingly, could not approve or object to such use prior to the distribution of the invitations.
Section 100.7(a)(2)(i) states that for a period from nine months prior to the primary election, until six months after the general election:
A judge may attend a fundraising dinner or affair on behalf of the judge’s own candidacy, but may not personally solicit contributions at such dinner or affair.
While judicial candidates may attend political party fundraisers, the rules say that judges should not themselves solicit contributions. Here, the format of the invitation, where only the judges’ names are used, comes close to suggesting that it is the judges who are doing the soliciting. Although section 100.7(a) permits a judge to attend a post-election fundraiser within six months after the election, on the facts of this case, there is a risk of the appearance of impropriety. Accordingly, the judges should not attend or participate in the political fundraising affair in any way.