Opinion: 96-10

March 12, 1996

Digest:  A part-time town justice may not serve on a labor union's political action committee (PAC).

Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(C), (D),(E).


            A part-time town justice inquires whether it is permissible to be an active member of a labor union's political action committee (PAC). The judge states that "over the last several years we have spent the majority of our time and efforts in discussing endorsements and informing legislators and congressmen of the needs and desires of our membership . . ."

            As a general proposition, but with certain specified exceptions, judges are prohibited from engaging in most political activity. This prohibition proscribes, among other things, publicly endorsing political candidates, engaging in any partisan political activity, and participating in any way in the political campaigns of others. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1),(C),(D),(E).

            A judge's membership on a political action committee of a labor union of necessity would involve the judge in activities that would actually and apparently contravene all the above cited rules. Therefore, a part-time judge should not serve as a member of a political action committee.