Opinion 15-62 AMENDED
March 19, 2015
Digest: A full-time judge need not prohibit the judge’s spouse, who is a principal in a real estate LLC, from allowing the spouse’s LLC to rent a storefront to a partisan political organization.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.6(A); Opinions 13-24; 12-20; 10-124; 98-22.
A full-time judge’s spouse has a principal interest in a limited liability company (LLC) which owns an apartment building. Within the apartment building is a storefront. The spouse wishes to rent the storefront to a partisan political organization. The judge represents that he/she has “absolutely no financial interest in the LLC or the apartment building.”
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct apply to judges and “other persons to whom by their terms these rules apply” (22 NYCRR 100.6[A]) but not to a judge’s spouse (see Opinions 12-20; 10-124).
Accordingly, the Committee has advised that a judge’s spouse “remains free to engage in his/her own bona fide independent political activities” (Opinion 12-20; see also Opinion 98-22 [a judge’s spouse may make a political contribution, “provided that the contribution is not actually the indirect contribution of the judge”]), as well as business and financial activities that would be impermissible for a full-time judge (see e.g. Opinion 13-24).
Under the circumstances presented, including the judge’s representation that the judge has no financial interest in the spouse’s LLC, the judge need not prohibit the spouse or the spouse’s LLC from independently renting a storefront to a partisan political organization.