Opinion 95-142

December 14, 1995


Digest:         A full-time judge may be part of an informal local group that seeks to explore ideas for the improvement of the condition of the business area of the community.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.2(c)


         A full-time judge has been asked to organize and participate in an informal group of prominent people in the “locality who would meet on occasion for the purpose of seeing if we can come up with some ideas to improve the condition of the downtown business area” of the community where the judge has lived his entire life. No fund-raising or politics are involved, although “there may come a time when the groups’s suggestions will be passed on to the Town Board.” The judge would not hold any office in t he group nor would the judge’s name appear on any stationery. As stated by the judge, “My sole involvement will be banding together my friends in an informal manner in an attempt to aid our stricken community.”

         The Committee is of the opinion that the inquiring judge may participate in the activities of the group, as described. There does not appear to be any use of the prestige of judicial office in connection with the informal discussions and suggestions that are contemplated, and any identification of the judge appear to be incidental.