Opinion No.: AO-103-07
July 24, 2007
Digest: The Rules do not prohibit political contributions by the spouse of a city administrative law judge ("ALJ").
Rule: 48 RCNY, Appendix A: "Rules of Conduct for Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers of the City of New York," Sections 105(A)-(E).
Opinion: An administrative law judge inquires whether under the applicable codes, the ALJ's spouse may make political contributions. Although not explicitly stated, this request is being treated as made pursuant to Section 107 of the Rules of Conduct for Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers of the City of New York ("Rules"), 48 RCNY, App. A, which authorizes us to issue advisory opinions with respect to those Rules.
The issue raised in the inquiry is as follows:
Whether political contributions made by the spouse of an administrative law judge violate the Rules of Conduct.
Section 105 of the Rules, which addresses political activity, does not prohibit ALJs from making political contributions to the extent that such activity "not detract from, or reduce public confidence in, the fairness, impartiality or dignity of his or her office or the tribunal he or she serves nor be in violation of Chapter 68 of the City Charter or any other applicable law." Rules § 105(E). As the Rules do not prohibit an ALJ from making political contributions, it likewise would not prohibit the ALJ's spouse from doing so.
Judges are reminded to consider other applicable codes and rules and indeed, in this case, the judge's spouse's ability to make political contributions was limited by other applicable rules or codes.