December 18, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-143) asking if you may plan and attend a community blood drive and organ donor registration event in memory of a deceased relative. Persons other than you would distribute fliers and emails to publicize the event; invite individuals to attend; and solicit cash and/or in-kind donations. You indicate that your judicial designation will not appear on any advertisements or invitations, and you will not personally solicit anyone to attend or participate.
A judge must not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities but may assist in planning charitable fund-raising (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i], [iv]). Thus, the Committee has previously advised in similar circumstances that it is ethically permissible for a judge to help plan and organize a charitable fund-raiser in honor of the judge’s deceased relative behind the scenes, where the judge’s title is not used, and he/she does not personally solicit participation or donations.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 01-94 which addresses this issue.1
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court
1 Opinion 18-05 is distinguishable because the inquiring judge was chairing the blood drive and would personally solicit individuals to participate, neither of which is a factor here.