January 19, 1995
Digest: A judge serving as a member or as president of the Board of Trustees of a public library may not engage in fundraising activities, including the encouraging of members of the legislature to appropriate funds for the organization.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)
A full-time judge has been serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of a public library and is now under consideration for the office of President. The judge asks whether the position of President may be accepted and whether the judge is "permitted to actively encourage members of the Legislature to appropriate funds and/or increase the appropriation for this public institution."
Section 100.5(b) of the Rule of the Chief Administrator permits a judge to participate in civic activities, including service as an officer or trustee of a civic organization, subject to certain limitations. Among those limitations is the prohibition against solicitation of funds. Accordingly, the Committee is of the opinion that the judge may not participate in the raising of funds for the library, which prohibition includes the active encouragement of legislation to appropriate funds, as described by the inquirer.
Further, the Committee assumes that the public library in question is not a municipal corporation. Otherwise, the judge would have to consider Article 6, Section 20 of the New York State Constitution which forbids justices of the Supreme court from holding any other public office or trust.