Opinion 05-144

January 26, 2006


Digest:         A judge should not join a board created solely for the purpose of establishing and raising funds for a memorial scholarship fund.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b(iv); Opinions 89-21 (Vol. III); 89-49 (Vol. III); 96-78 (Vol. XV).


         The inquiring judge has been invited to join a board created to establish a memorial scholarship fund at a college in memory of a particular individual. The judge asks whether it is permissible to serve on such board “if it involves fund-raising activities for the scholarship.”

         In Opinion 96-78 (Vol. XV), we stated that a judge should not allow the judge’s name to be listed on the letterhead of a bar association’s “ad hoc committee” where the sole purpose of the committee was the active solicitation of contributions to a memorial scholarship fund named for a deceased attorney. Such participation in an ad hoc committee of this nature, in our view, constituted a prohibited involvement in soliciting funds and using the prestige of judicial office for that purpose. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(b)(iv).

         Similarly in Opinion 89-21 (Vol. III), this Committee said a judge may not participate in fund-raising activities for scholarships; and in Opinion 89-49 (Vol. III), the Committee stated that, however commendable a particular endeavor, a judge should not participate in the proposed fund-raising activity for a scholarship named for a friend.

         We thus conclude that, since it appears the sole purpose of this ad hoc committee is to raise funds for the scholarship, the judge should not serve on the board. Opinion 96-78 (Vol. XV).