Opinion 95-41

March 9, 1995

PLEASE NOTE: A new Section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iv) was promulgated in 1996 to provide as follows: “A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member or otherwise [of an educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit]: . . . (iv) shall not use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for fund-raising or membership solicitation, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization. Use of an organization’s regular letterhead for fund-raising ore membership solicitation does not violate this provision, provided the letterhead lists only the judge’s name and office or other position in the organization, and, if comparable designations are listed for other persons, the judge’s judicial designation.


Digest:         There is no ethical violation where the letter-head of a charitable organization does not list the names of judges who are officers and the judge does not participate in fund-raising.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)


         The inquiring judge is the president of a not-for-profit corporation that was formed by judges and lawyers for the purpose of promoting awareness of breast cancer in all parts of the community and developing programs and services that utilize the talents of judges and lawyers. The group uses two letterheads. The full letterhead lists the officers, including the name of the inquirer and other judges as well as lawyers. This letterhead is not used for any activity that has to do with fund-raising or related matters. The other letterhead sets forth the name of the organization and lists no individual names. The inquiring judge seeks the guidance of the Committee in this regard.

         In the opinion of the Committee there is no ethical bar to the use of the letterhead. The name of the judge is not used in fund-raising and the judge would not personally participate in fund-raising. Accordingly, section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which allows judges to be listed as officers of charitable organizations, but proscribes the use of such listing in connection with any solicitation of funds, is not being violated.