September 24, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-127) asking whether you, as a full-time judge, may attend and participate in an out-of-state conference of tribal judges “in connection with [your] performance of [your] official duties for the Unified Court System” and allow one of the tribal courts to underwrite your travel, lodging, and registration fees. The payments will be paid by the sponsoring tribal court directly to the vendors.
It is permissible under the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct for a judge to accept an invitation to attend an activity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[D][a]). A full-time judge may receive reimbursement of expenses for the actual and reasonable costs of travel, lodging and other related costs associated with attending the program (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H][b]).
Accordingly, the proposed arrangement is permissible as it is unlikely to create any appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.2). In addition, the Committee views these payments as reimbursement expenses, not compensation (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[H]). Therefore, the expenses need not be reported pursuant to 22 NYCRR 100.4(H)(2).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-57; 13-136; 10-24; and 08-20 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court