Opinion: 97-12

March 13, 1997




Digest:  A judge, as president of the Board of Trustees of a public library (1) may have the judge's name listed, as an officer, on the invitation to a fund-raising gala if the listing of the judge and other board members is in the same format as on the organization's regular letterhead, and (2) may list the judge's judicial designation only if comparable designations are listed for other persons.
 

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i),(iv).
 
 

Opinion:

            A judge inquires whether, as president of a Board of Trustees of a public library, the judge may be included by name, along with all of the other trustees, on an invitation for a centennial gala celebration, which is a fund-raising event.

            With respect to serving as an officer of an organization such as a public library, section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) and (iv) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, provide that:
 

(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal advisor, or a member of otherwise:

(i) may assist such an organization in planning fund-raising and may participate in the management and investment of the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities:

. . .
(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 or 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.


            Obviously, the inquiring judge may not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities but may be listed as an officer of the organization as long as the format for the invitation is identical to the organization's regular letterhead. The judge's judicial designation may also appear in addition to the judge's office in the organization if comparable designations are listed for other persons.