April 24, 2008
Digest: A candidate for election to judicial office should not engage in joint fundraising activity with a candidate for non-judicial office.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.0(Q); 100.5(A)(1)-(2); 100.5(A)(5); Opinions 03-06; 02-64; 01-99; 91-113 (Vol. VIII).
A judge who is running for re-election asks whether he/she may hold a joint fundraiser during the judge’s window period with a candidate for election to a non-judicial office.
A candidate for election to judicial office may undertake specific, limited political activity during his/her window period in support of his/her own campaign (22 NYCRR 100.0[Q]; 100.5[A]-). Among other limitations, a judicial candidate may not personally solicit contributions, publicly endorse any other candidates, or “participat[e] in” anyone else’s political campaign for any office (see 22 NYCRR 100.5[A][c]-[e]; 100.5[A][h]; 100.5[A][i]; 100.5[A]). The Committee has previously held that two judicial candidates may hold a joint fundraiser, subject to certain restrictions (see Opinions 01-99; 91-113 [Vol. VIII]; cf. Opinions 03-06; 02-64). However, the Committee believes that compliance with Section 100.5 of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct would be difficult, if not impossible, for a judicial candidate involved in a joint fundraiser with a non-judicial candidate because the candidate for non-judicial office is not subject to the same exacting standards (see generally 22 NYCRR 100.5). Accordingly, a judicial candidate should not engage in joint fundraising activity with a candidate for non-judicial elective office.