March 10, 1994
Digest: A full-time judge may attend a political fundraising dinner, less than six months after election day, honoring all recently elected judicial and nonjudicial candidates.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.7(a)(1) and (2)
Three recently elected, full-time judges ask whether they may attend a fund-raising dinner sponsored by a political party on whose ticket they successfully ran for office. The date of the dinner is less than six months after Election Day, and it is advertised as an event honoring fifteen recently elected members of the party's November slate, eleven non-judicial and four judicial candidates.
Section 100.7 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator sets forth the strictures concerning political activity of judges. Generally, subdivision (a)(1) provides for a period of suspension of the limitation concerning attendance at political fundraising events related to elections, which period of suspension terminates six months after the general election.
This committee has previously advised (Opinion 91-02, Vol. VII) that a political fundraising dinner, similarly timed, and honoring recently elected judges only, but without the prior approval or consent of those judges, would violate 22 NYCRR §100.7(a)(1&2) if the honored judges participated, in part because the invitation's format came too “close to suggesting that it [was] the judges who [were] doing the soliciting.”
In the instant situation, the judges are only part of a general group of judicial and non-judicial honorees and cannot be deemed to be doing the soliciting.