Opinion: 98-145
December 3, 1998
Digest:    A judge may serve as a member of a local committee to create a veterans' memorial.

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


            A full-time judge inquires whether it is ethically permissible to participate as a member of a committee, the purpose of which is to create a veterans' memorial in recognition of the veterans of the town where the judge resides. The committee is chaired by a local attorney. It will need to locate and purchase a suitable piece of land for the memorial; determine the type and design of the memorial; and supervise its construction. The inquirer indicates that most if not all of the money for the memorial has already been procured. The judge notes, however, that some additional fund-raising may be necessary.

            Section 100.4(C) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states, in part:

            (C) Governmental, Civic, or Charitable Activities

(3) A judge may be a member or serve as an officer,
director, trustee or non-legal advisor of an organization
or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of
the law, the legal system or the improvement of the law,
the legal system or the administration of justice or of an
educational, religious, charitable, cultural, fraternal or
civic organization not conducted for profit, subject to
the following limitations and the other requirements of
this Part.

* * *

(b) A judge as an officer, director, trustee or non-legal
advisor, or a member or otherwise:

(i) may assist such an organization in planning fund-raising
and may participate in the management and investment of
the organization's funds, but shall not personally participate
in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities.

* * *

(iv) shall not use or permit the use of the prestige of judicial
office for fund-raising or membership solicitation, but may
be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such organization.
Use of an organization's regular letterhead for fund-raising or
membership solicitation does not violate this provision, provided
the letterhead lists only the judge's name and office or other
position in the organization, and, if comparable designations are
listed for other persons, the judge's judicial designation.

Thus, the Rules explicitly allow the judge to participate in a civic activity which is conducted by a not-for-profit organization. This particular organization readily falls within such a classification. The judge, of course, may not "personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities" (22 NYCRR 100.4 [C][3][i]) but may be listed on the organization's regular letterhead even if that letterhead is used for fund-raising. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(iv).