March 10, 1994
NOTE: The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct were amended in 1996. Please see new Rule 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii) (a judge may accept an unadvertised award ancillary to a not-for-profit organization’s fund-raising event). Please also see Opinion 04-141 (a judge may introduce and present an award to an honoree at a not-for-profit organization’s fund-raising dinner, provided that the judge’s presence and role as the presenter of the award are unadvertised).
Digest: A judge may not be the recipient of a "Special Leadership Award" to be given at a fundraising dinner held by a charitable foundation.
Rule: 22 NYCRR §100.5(b)(2); Opinions 91-92, 91-138, Vol. VIII
A judge has been asked to accept a "Special Leadership Award" from a charitable foundation in recognition of his interest in and support of children. The award is to be given at a dinner and the judge has been told that his participation would ensure the success of the organization's fundraising effort.
Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator specifically prohibits such extra-judicial activity and states in part:
No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization’s fund-raising events, but he or she may attend such events.
Prior opinions of the Committee make it clear that a judge may not be an honoree at a charitable fundraising dinner, but that if the affair did not involve fundraising, the judge could receive the award on such an occasion (See Opinions 91-92, 91-138, Vol. VIII).