Opinion 16-35

March 21, 2016


Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (16-35) whether it is ethically permissible to attend, as a guest, an event held by the Tri-State Law Enforcement Foundation and whether you may donate to that organization. The Tri-State Law Foundation “works closely with the top law enforcement officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut” to “provide[] support to children of law enforcement officials through scholarship grants and [to] provide[] individual achievement awards to fraternal, religious, and ethnic organizations. The Foundation endeavors to facilitate the coordination and allocation of the resources that various entities have at their disposal, through networking, friendship and alliances.” Since the inquiry does not describe the event in detail, the Committee assumes it is the entity’s annual gala fundraiser.

         The Committee has advised that a judge may attend a fund-raiser for a not-for-profit law enforcement organization and may make a charitable donation to that organization, even though he/she may not become a member.

         Assuming the Tri-State Law Enforcement Foundation and its interests have not appeared, and are not likely to appear before you, you may accept free admission to the event under the catch-all provision (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[D][5][h]). If the ticket exceeds $150, you must comply with the reporting requirements of 22 NYCRR 100.4(H). Also, as you may not be the speaker or guest of honor at the entity’s fundraisers, you must advise the organization not to advertise your attendance (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][b][ii]).

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 13-192; 13-134; 13-151; 12-185; 11-67; 02-81; and 98-40 which address this issue.


                                       Very truly yours,

                                       George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

                                       Appellate Division, First Dep’t (Ret.)

                                       Committee Chair