Opinion 89-64

May 25, 1989


Topic:          Judge serving as president of an area Jaycees, a charitable organization.


Digest:         It would not be improper for a judge to serve as president of an area Jaycees, provided that the judge does not participate in soliciting funds for the Jaycees or permit the use of the prestige of judicial office for that purpose.


Rules:          22 NYCRR Sec. 100.5(b)(2)


         A town justice, who has been nominated to be the next president of an area Jaycees, has inquired whether it would be proper for him to agree to serve. The organization provides physical labor for the special olympics to benefit the physically handicapped, physical labor at Freedom Gardens which benefits the physically handicapped, and provides manpower at county fairs. The organization also conducts fundraising activities, such as an annual dinner-dance, the sale of $10,000 worth of oranges each Fall, the sale of bicentennial memorabilia, and the sale in local stores of other items such as Jaycees calendars and clothing. The organization uses the profits from such fundraising activities to donate monies to charitable organizations and worthwhile causes, such as Guiding Eyes for the Blind, college scholarships, the Make a Wish Foundation, and a Volunteer Ambulance Corp. The organization also is involved locally and statewide with the nomination and selection of an Outstanding Young Teenager each year.

         Section 100.5(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts provides, in part, as follows:


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 an 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.

         Thus, there is no prohibition against the judge’s serving as an officer of the organization. However, the Rule does prohibit the judge from soliciting funds for the organization and from using or permitting the use of the prestige of his judicial office for that purpose, which means that, among other things, the judge’s name may not appear on any letters or correspondence of any kind whereby funds are solicited. In short, the judge must be disassociated from, and make certain that the judge’s name is not used in connection with any of the organization’s fundraising activities.

         See also Committee Opinion II 88-110.