October 28, 1991
Digest: A judge may be enrolled as a member of a political party, but may not be a member of any political club or organization, nor pay any political dues, nor contribute to any political campaign except his or her own.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.7; 100.7(b) ; 100.7(d)
A part-time judge who is running for re-election inquires whether a judge may maintain membership in a political party through the contribution of an annual fee. Additionally, the judge asks whether the judge may contribute to other candidates' campaigns during the time that the judge is running for election.
Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that "no judge shall contribute to any political party or political campaign or take part in any political campaign except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office."
Section 100.7 prohibits a judge from participating "in any political campaign for any office, except his or her own campaign for elective judicial office." Section 100.7(d) prohibits judges from being members of any political club or organization.
The Judge may be an enrolled member of a political party, but may not be a member of any political club or organization. The judge may not pay any political dues to a political party or club, even during the window period of an election year. In addition, the judge may not make contributions to anyone else's campaign at any time. However, pursuant to Election Law §17-162, the judge may make legal expenditures as authorized by statute.
Subject to the Election Law, there is no ethical prohibition against a judicial candidate contributing to his or her own campaign.