September 12, 1991
Digest: A part-time judge, who is a member of the board of directors of a symphony orchestra, may not participate in a fund drive, by recruiting, instructing and monitoring the activities of other fundraisers.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(b)(2).
A judge, who is a member of the board of directors of a symphony orchestra, asks whether it is permissible to participate in a pyramid-type fund drive, where the judge's duties would consist primarily of recruiting, instructing and monitoring the activities of other fundraisers, and making weekly status reports to the fund drive chairman.
Section 100.3(b)(2) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator is controlling, and provides in pertinent part that, “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.”
Although the judge will not be involved directly in the solicitation of funds, serving in the drive will clearly involve the judge in the promotion and coordination of the fundraising effort. Such activity would fly in the face of the proscription on judicial fundraising, and thus, the judge should decline to participate.