1994-09: Fund Raising To Improve Justice

 Opinion No. 94-9

April 21, 1994

TOPIC: Judge participation in fundraising for program to improve the administration of justice.

DIGEST: While a judge may not personally solicit funds, a judge may explain to a potential donor the activities and importance of an agency devoted to the improvement of justice.

REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rule 64 A and C of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 4 (145 Ill.2d R. 64).

FACTS

As part of a national effort to improve the processing and approaches to domestic violence, The National Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is planning a seminar in Chicago and they need to raise money for that. The judge is a member of that organization and is asked to meet with and explain the seminar to a potential donor. He will not ask for the donation; that will be left to someone else.

QUESTION

May a judge promote the seminar knowing that it is part of a fundraising effort?

OPINION

Yes, a judge may promote a seminar knowing that it is part of a fundraising effort. Here we are concerned with a program to improve the processing and approaches to domestic violence. That description would appear to be permitted under the last sentence of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 64 C.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules 64 A and C state:

A. A judge may...participate in other activities, concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

C. A judge may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. He or she may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in their management and investment, but should not personally participate in public fund-raising activities. He or she may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. (Emphasis supplied)