Opinion 94-26

March 10, 1994


Digest:         A part-time judge may be a member or officer and run for the position of President of the local Chamber of Commerce. Recusal in cases involving parties who are members of the Chamber is not required. Fund-raising, directly or indirectly, is prohibited.


Rule:            22 NYCRR §100.5(a)(b)


         A part-time judge inquires as to whether it is permissible to be a member or officer of the town Chamber of Commerce and to seek election as the President of the Chamber. The Chamber is organized as a not-for-profit corporation. The judge also asks whether there must be recusal in any matters involving a member of the Chamber and whether there must be disclosure by the judge of the judge's membership and position in the Chamber.

         A judge may participate in extra-judicial activities if such activities do not interfere with the performance of judicial duties, and may include civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality. As presented, it is the opinion of the Committee that such restraints would not preclude the judge from being a member of, holding an office in or running for the position of President of the local Chamber of Commerce. The judge could not, however, engage in any fundraising, directly or indirectly. See 22 NYCRR §§100.5(a),(b).

         Recusal, in cases involving members of the Chamber is not required, provided the judge feels that impartiality is not compromised. The judge may, but need not affirmatively disclose personal knowledge of a party's membership in the Chamber.

         The judge also asks if "there are any other potential issues that should be discussed at this point." It Is the policy of the Committee not to discuss unidentified potential issues.