June 16, 1994
Digest: A full-time judge may serve as president of a coalition of community organizations formed for the preservation of an historic site, provided that the judge will not personally engage in the actual solicitation of funds or permit his/her name and office to be used therefor.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)
A full-time judge, who has been actively engaged in various community historical societies, inquires if he/she may serve as president of a coalition of various community organizations formed for the preservation of a local historic site.
The judge states:
The mission of the coalition is to engender public support for full funding of the oldest historic site belonging to the State, raise money for programing and start training programs, etc.
Section 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of Courts provides in part:
(b) Civic and charitable activities. A judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members, subject to the following limitations:
(2) 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 organization, provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds.... 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)
Thus, should the judge become president of the coalition, the judge would be required to divorce himself/herself from all fund solicitations, speaking at fundraising functions, permitting the use of his/her name in fundraising literature or otherwise participating directly in other fundraising activities. Nor may the judge give investment advice to the coalition, although participation in consideration of investment decisions is permissible. The judge may serve if he/she can do so without violating these restrictions.
If it appears that under these conditions it would be difficult for the judge to serve properly as president of the coalition, the judge seriously should consider not serving.