Opinion 01-123

December 13, 2001

Digest: A judge may donate a holiday ornament to be auctioned, for fund-raising purposes,
by a not-for-profit organization.

Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) and (iv); Opinions 92-70/84 (Vol. X); 00-70.


            A judge has been asked, along with several other prominent business and academic leaders in the community to design, make and donate a holiday ornament to a local not-for-profit corporation devoted to the furtherance of the appreciation of opera. The ornaments will be auctioned to raise funds for the organization.

            The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit a judge from contributing funds or donating property to an educational or civic organization of the kind involved herein. Joint Opinion 92-70/84 (Vol. X). The Rules would also allow this judge to assist this organization in planning fund-raising but would prohibit the judge from personally participating in the solicitation of funds or allowing the prestige of the judge's office to be used for fund-raising by the organization. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) and (iv).

            Citing these same rules as authority, this Committee has previously stated that a judge who is a member of a bar association may contribute a recipe for publication in a recipe book that will be sold by the bar association, where the proceeds of the sale are to be donated to the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert Bar Association. Opinion 00-70. We believe that the present inquiry calls for the same result. Accordingly, it is our opinion that the activity of a judge in designing, making and donating a holiday
ornament, to be auctioned at an organization's fund-raising event, along with ornaments similarly donated by other prominent citizens, does not violate any of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.