April 25, 1996
Digest: A judge may accept an award by a charitable organization at a fund-raising event provided that the judge’s name is not used for solicitation of contributions and that the granting of the award is unadvertised.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii)
A full time judge is active in a group called Council on Adoptable Children (“COAC”). As described by the judge, COAC “is a not-for-profit organization which helps to adopt minority children that are hard to adopt.” The organization holds a yearly event “at which time deserving people are honored.” This year “COAC” would like to honor a Family Court Judge whose name would not be used for the purpose of fund solicitation.”
Although the inquirer does not explicitly describe the even itself as a fund-raising event, the Committee is of the opinion that the newly -revised Rules of the Chief Administrator Governing Judicial Conduct would allow for the acceptance of an honorary award at a charitable event under certain circumstances. Section 100.4 (C) (b) (ii) of the revised Rules specifically permits a judge to accept at an “organization’s fund-raising event an unadvertised award ancillary to such event.”
Thus, not only must the judge’s name “not be used for the purpose of fund solicitation” as stated by inquirer, but the bestowing of the award itself must be unadvertised. If such conditions are met, the acceptance of the award is permissible.