March 12, 1996
A judge's campaign committee may hold a post-election fund raiser, within
the permissible six month period, to raise funds to pay outstanding election
debts to third parties but not for purpose of repaying loans made by the
judge to the committee.
22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(5).
Opinion 94-21; 93-20.
A newly reelected Supreme Court Justice inquires whether it is permissible for his/her campaign committee to run a fund raiser within the permissible period for purposes of paying outstanding campaign debts to third parties and repaying a loan made by the justice to the campaign committee.
The inquiring judge requests clarification with respect to Opinions 94-21 and 93-20. Opinion 93-20 indicates that a dinner may be held within the six month period after the judge's election by a civic organization with profits therefrom to be transferred to the judge's election campaign committee to defray an existing campaign debt. The digest of Opinion 94-21 states that "A judge's campaign committee may not engage in a solicitation of funds to repay the indebtedness of prior campaigns when the liability is a loan to those campaign committees from the judge and the judge's spouse."
In reconciling the two opinions it appears that the campaign committee may hold a fund raiser within the permissible period to raise funds to pay outstanding campaign debts to third parties but not for the purpose of repaying the loans made to the committee by the judge himself.