November 19, 1992
Digest: A part-time judge may serve as president of the board of directors of a county chamber of commerce, provided the judge does not become involved in the solicitation of funds.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2).
A part-time judge inquires whether the judge may serve as president of the board of directors of a county chamber of commerce. The organization does not raise its money from fundraising events with the exception of one dinner; all other funds are generated by contributions from the county legislature and state matching funds.
As we noted in Opinion 91-99, a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties, provided the judge does not engage in or lend the judge's name to fundraising endeavors. Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator governs this situation and provides in pertinent part:
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 but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization; provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fundraising events, but he or she may attend such events.
Accordingly, the judge may serve as president of the county chamber of commerce. The judge may not, however, solicit funds for the chamber or permit the prestige of judicial office to be used for that purpose. In addition, the judge should not be a speaker or the guest of honor at the chamber's annual fundraising dinner.