Opinion 89-16

February 24, 1989


Topic:          Fundraising by a judge for a philanthropic organization.


Digest:         A judge may not participate in fundraising activities by telephoning members of a philanthropic organization, of which the judge is on the board of directors, to encourage attendance at a fundraising breakfast.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2)


         A judge inquires as to the propriety of participating, as a director of a philanthropic organization, in a telephone campaign to encourage attendance at a fundraising breakfast.

         Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which governs judicial conduct, provides, in relevant part :


No judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization; or use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose, but may be listed as an officer, director, or trustee of such organization; provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fundraising events, but he or she may attend such events.

         The inquiring judge should not personally solicit members of the organization to attend an “appeal breakfast”, the purpose of which is to raise money. Although the judge states that he will not reveal that he is a judge during the telephone calls, the fact that he is a director of the organization from whose membership he would be soliciting attendance at the breakfast raises the possibility that the membership is already aware of his judicial post. The judge's personal appeal to the membership for attendance at the fundraiser would violate 22 NYCRR §100.5(b).