Ask the Model Code: “May I raise money for charities?”

Dear Model Code:

I serve on the board of a nonprofit. May my name appear on its letterhead during a fundraising solicitation?

Yours truly,

Judge Uneasy

Dear Judge Uneasy,

Excellent question. Your name may appear on the letterhead. However, the fundraising solicitation should not be sent under your name or signed by you, and the organization must be one that seeks to improve the administration of justice or the law.

Canon 1, Rule 1.3 states: “A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so” (emphasis added).

However, Canon 3, Rule 3.7 (A) states: “a judge may participate in activities sponsored by organizations or governmental entities (that are) concerned with the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, and … (are) sponsored by or on behalf of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for profit….”

Rule 3.7 (A)(1) lists permissible activities that a judge may undertake for such organizations. These include “planning related to fund-raising, and participating in the management and investment of the organization’s or entity’s funds.”

Charitably yours,

The Model Code of Judicial Conduct

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