Opinion: 98-119
January 28, 1999
Digest:    A judge should not, on behalf of a not-for-profit organization, solicit volunteers (1) to do physical labor; (2) to solicit contributions; or (3) to serve on committees or on the board of directors of the organization.

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) and (iv).


        A not-for-profit corporation of a charitable and civic nature has asked the inquiring judge to obtain volunteers for the organization. The volunteers would be asked to do physical labor for the organization, which is one of its activities (e.g. repairing homes); or to solicit contributions to it; or to serve on its committees or on the board of directors. The judge asks, "Would this be suitable for a town justice in New York? I am aware that I cannot use my office to solicit funds personally."

        In the opinion of the Committee the judge should not engage in the procurement of volunteers under the circumstances stated. Such participation by the judge goes beyond "planning fund-raising" or "participation in the management and investment of the organization's funds," which are permissible activities under section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. The degree of involvement requested of the judge, albeit not requiring direct solicitation of funds, could, in our view, lead to a public perception that the prestige of judicial office is being used to support the endeavors of this particular group. This would be in contravention of section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(iv) of the Rules. Accordingly, we advise that the judge should not serve the organization in the manner requested.