Opinion 20-203

January 17, 2020


Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (20-203) asking whether you may be a “bell ringer” for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. This requires standing next to a kettle and ringing a jingle bell at the entrance to a store for individuals to donate money as they walk by. Your name, title and participation in this campaign would not be identified or announced.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a judge from personally participating in the solicitation of funds or engaging in other fund-raising activities on behalf of governmental, civic or charitable organizations (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][b][i]). Accordingly, you must not participate in collecting donations as a “bell ringer.” However, you may nevertheless personally contribute to the charitable organization involved, and the organization may acknowledge your contribution in the same manner as it would acknowledge contributions from other members of the public.

         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 14-132,14-29, and 14-08, which address this issue.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 Margaret T. Walsh

                                                 Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair


                                                 Lillian Wan

                                                 Acting Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair