October 11, 1996
Digest: It is improper for a judge to permit the use of his/her home as the site of an animal fund-raising event for a neighborhood youth organization.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4 ( C)(3), 100.4( C)(3)(b)(i)
A judge asks if he/she may donate the use of his/her home as the site of an annual fund-raising event for a neighborhood youth organization. The judge is a member of the board of the organization and each year one house in the neighborhood is used for this purpose. The judge would not be involved in the direct solicitation of funds and would take great care to ensure that the house is identified by address only and is not identified as a judge’s home on invitations and other fund-raising documents.
Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allows a judge to serve on the board of a non-profit civic, charitable, fraternal, religious, educational organization and Section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) further allows the judge to assist in planning fund-raising for the organization as long as the judge does not “...personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities” (emphasis added). Although great efforts may be taken to avoid the judge’s personal involvement and to obscure the fact that the judge’s home is the site of the annual fund-raising, the use of the judge’s home would, nonetheless, violate the prohibition against the judge personally participating in this organization’s fund-raising activities.
It is therefore the opinion of the Committee that it would be inappropriate for the judge to donate the use of his/her home as the site of an annual fund-raising event for a neighborhood youth organization.