January 29, 1998
Digest: A judge may attend an inaugural ball for a recently-elected mayor where any proceeds from the cost of admission will go to a not-for-profit charitable organization and the event is not a political gathering.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(A); 100.5(A)(g); Opinions 98-16; 97-145; 93-24(Vol. XI).
A judge has inquired regarding the propriety of attending the inaugural ball of a recently elected mayor. The invitation clearly shows that the net proceeds, if any, would go to a not-for-profit charitable organization. The judge does not request to participate, but only to attend. Under these circumstances, there is no preclusion from attendance pursuant to section 100.4(A) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, which concerns the extra-judicial activities of judges as there is no indication attendance would be in conflict with the judicial obligations of the inquiring judge. (Similar inquiries have been addressed in Opinions 98-16, 97-145 and 93-24[Vol. XI]).
Additionally, as the inaugural ball is neither a political fund-raiser, nor a meeting of a political organization, there is no preclusion from attendance under section 100.5(A)(g) of the Rules which prohibits a judge from "attending political gatherings."